World Book Day

The Diocese Laudato Si’ group have put forward some book suggestions that have supported them on their journey of ecological conversion. Perfect for anyone looking for some inspiration this spring

Sixty Harvests Left by Phillip Lymbery

The Future We Choose by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac

A Life On Our Planet by David Attenborough

The Climate Book by Greta Thunberg

Is It Really Green? by Georgina Wilson-Powell

The Joyful Environmentalist by Isabel Losada

The Art of Letting Go by Richard Rohr

Laudato Si’ by Pope Francis

Laudato Deum by Pope Francis

Veg Street by Naomi Schillinger.

The Garden Jungle by Dave Goulson.

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

The Uninhabitable Planet by David Wallace-Wells

Ravenous by Henry Dimbleby

Regenesis: feeding  without devouring the planet by George Monb


A pile of books o a table with the words World Book Day across the top of the image

Green Lent Resources

The Diocese Laudato Si’ Network has been gathering some green actions and resources to share this Lent. In the busyness of life, it is easy to slip away from our intention to live more simply, sustainably to take care of God’s creation. So this is a chance to take a moment, to pause, reflect and try a new step in the journey in Caring for our Common Home

Caritas Online Networking Lunch – LiveSimply Award

CAFOD’s LiveSimply Award is a great way for a parish to come  together and and make changes that help us  live more simply, sustainably and in solidarity with the poor.  For our next networking event we are being joined by Jo Lewry, CPC for CAFOD in Portsmouth to explain more about the award, the positive impact it has made in parishes and give an opportunity to ask lots of questions.

Join us on Tuesday 5th March, 12:30-1pm, everyone is welcome. Please register here to join.

grey square with Caritas logo in top right corner. Main picture is a black and white image of saucepans on a hob with steam rising from them. underneath are the words Warm Spaces Networking event Tuesday 23rd January 12:30 - 1pm

Warm Spaces Networking Event

This can be the hardest time of the year for people struggling with financial insecurity and being left to choose between paying bills, heating their homes and eating. We can help by opening warm and welcoming spaces in our parishes across Portsmouth RC for people to spend time in the warmth, socialise and access hot food/refreshments. Come along to our online networking event on Tuesday 23rd January 12:30-1pm to find out what is needed to get set up and how we can help. Register here.

Find additional support resources on the Parish Resources page.

Seven Actions for the World Day of the Poor

  • The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have released an autumn cost-of-living statement. It is well worth the read and highlights priorities they see for the current government. You can use this as a guide to write to your MP.
  • Consider what your parish can do. Has it the facilities to open as a warm space – whether for coffee, craft sessions or community meals? All give people an excuse to come and connect with their community and be fed. Caritas can support you get something up and running so do get in touch.
  • Does your parish have a collection point for your local foodbank?  Foodbanks are part of a huge network of support and can signpost to any number of agencies that can provide ongoing help.
  • Keep an eye on friends and neighbours for a change in behaviour. People who are struggling financially often try and hide it, yet it impacts almost every part of their life. If someone becomes withdrawn and isolated, just check in with them – and if you invite them for a coffee, make sure they know it is your treat upfront.
  • Employers and managers, you may not be able to influence someone’s pay, but there are lots of ways you can support people who may be struggling even though they are working. Visit Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development for ideas. 
  • Pray – We’ll be starting this novena on November 10th  from CSAN, please do join us.
  • Donate – Caritas Portsmouth has a number of projects supporting vulnerable people in the diocese and want to make sure it can help parishes respond to local needs. Please consider making a donation so we can help parishes serve their communities and become the Church Beyond Walls, You can donate here or text HANDS to 70450 to donate £10 (texts will cost £10 plus one standard rate message and you will be opting in to hear more from us. If you would like to donate but don’t wish to hear from us text HANDSNOINFO instead).

Thank you for your support.

A grey coloured statue of St Francis of Assisi standing in a garden with light purple flowers in the foreground.
St Francis of Assisi

Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi

The Season of Creation comes to an end on 4th October and there is a closing prayer service 2pm 

Pope Francis has released the eagerly anticipated update to Laudato Si’ called Laudate Deum. 

Listen to why Bishop Philip Arnold  explains why it is the right time to refocus on climate action.

Sign up for te Webinar ‘Laudate Deum: Pope Francis and his second Laudato Si’ – What does it mean for us?’ at 7pm on Thursday 12th October, organised by CAFOD.

Watch some of the actions from around the Diocese for Season of Creation as posted on our online gallery.

Caritas Portsmouth Newsletter

The first issue of the new Caritas Portsmouth Newsletter is now available.  As an introductory issue, it focuses on the work of Caritas in the diocese and how we can support parishes and schools develop their plans to become the Church Beyond Walls, aligning with the new Diocese mission ‘You Will Be My Witnesses‘.

Sign up if you would like to receive future issues straight to your inbox.

If you want an event, petition, issue or project to be covered in the newsletter, please get in touch at [email protected]. The next issue will come out November / December.

A series of small square pictures in a grid, each showing different activities connected with church. A white title on a blue background says You Will Be My Witnesses.
A river following directly in the hampshire countryside, the river is flanked by green trees and grass.

The Season of Creation 2023  1st September – 4th October

Let Justice and Peace Flow

The season of Creation is now underway and it is a chance to celebrate the beautiful world that is God’s gift to us. 

But as we do so,  we should also remember the extreme heat seen this summer, the wildfires that have destroyed homes and crops, the knowledge that the average global surface temperature and that of the oceans have both been broken this year. To prevent these ongoing changes to our climate from accelerating, we must act together.

In his message for the season, Pope Francis highlights the need for us to come together, forming “streams, brooks and rivulets, merging finally together in a mighty river to irrigate the life of our marvellous planet and our human family for generations to come.” To help us see our actions as adding to this mighty river, we’ve created a online photo gallery where you can upload pictures of what you and/or your school or parish are doing this season. We can support and inspire each other so that justice and peace may flow.

Sign up to receive reflections, ideas and actions for season in your inbox. Click here to read the first edition.

You can also visit our Season of Creation page

Walking the Test Way for Caritas!

Jenny, our Head of Caritas and friends, Lianne and Donna are walking 25.5 miles of the Test Way in Hampshire on Sept 24th to raise funds to support Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth!  Donations will go to support some of the most vulnerable people who live in our  communities across the diocese, including people struggling with the rising costs of living, poverty, homelessness, social isolation and refugees.

You can donate by visiting their JustGiving page.

80% of your donation will go to Caritas Portsmouth and 20% to the charities supported by the Romsey Rotary Club who run the event.

Thank you for your support – we are grateful for every donation.

grid showing signs of the different towns and villages along the Test Way walk including St Mary Bourne at the satrt and Romsey at the end.
Stain glass window showing the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt

The Illegal Migration Act

It is so disappointing that the Illegal Immigration Bill will now become law. It effectively closes the door to nearly all people who  seek to claim asylum as they escape war or persecution. 

Please consider signing this open letter to the Prime Minister organised by CAFOD and / or writing to your MP. The Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) website includes a template letter, instructions on how to find your MP and more details about the bill if you wish to put together your own letter. 

Also consider how you and your parish can respond. The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales have produced the document ‘Love the Stranger’. We have parishes that have welcomed families through the Community Sponsorship Scheme and others that support those already here through the provision of hot food, essentials and  hospitality. We are here to help if you would like to set up a project or we can connect you with a current project if you would like to find out more. Email us at  [email protected]

Season of Creation

The season of creation runs from 1st September to 4th October, so it is time to get planning events and actions in your schools and parishes. We have created an dedicated page to highlight national events, resources, ideas and actions to please join us as we take some time  to care for our common home.

tree logo with Season of Creation written in black next to it.
4 pictures of children playing, the top left, they are sitting under a tree, top right they are chasing balloons, bottom left they are doing some paper craft activities and bottom right they are doing some baking. In the middle is a grey circle with the words Holiday clubs in red with the Caritas logo.

Caritas Holiday Clubs!

Holiday Clubs are a really simple way to start supporting people in your local community. They can be run for children in your parish, local school but can also be an opportunity to reach out into your wider community. Children, particularly those whose families live with financial instability, are at risk of social isolation and loneliness during school holidays. The long break can put extra pressure on tight family budgets as children don’t have access to free school meals, may need extra childcare or depend on grandparents, who themselves can struggle. The holiday clubs, bring children together, to make new friends, see old ones, to play, enjoy a meal and learn something new!

Clubs can be whole days, half days or a whole week and we have everything you need to know to run one in your parish. We’ll send you a pack including information on safeguarding, volunteer recruitment, registration, food hygiene, risk assessments and a range of activities to keep everyone busy and enjoying their day. Contact us at [email protected].

Welcome the Stranger Webinar

Every person who seeks refuge in the UK has a face, a name and a story. A story of escaping conflict or persecution by leaving their home, community and country. 

Our Welcome the Stranger webinar on 22nd June 2023, 7:00-8:30pm explains how we can help provide a place of safety and new community through the Community Sponsorship programme or Homes for Ukraine. You’ll hear speakers from Reset and St John of God and people with direct experience in our diocese who have committed to ‘welcoming the stranger’. Use this link to register.

Earlier this year, the Bishops of England and Wales produced the ‘Love the Stranger‘ document as a Catholic response to refugees and migrants, to look beyond the statistics and policies to put the person at the heart of our pastoral outreach. There are a number of projects running within the diocese that do just this. Please get in touch to find out more at [email protected]


Laudato Si’ Week 2023

Laudato Si’ Week 2023 celebrates the 8th anniversary of the publication of Laudato Si’ by Pope Francis. A letter to all humanity inviting us to come together to care for our common home. “All of us can co-operate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.”

Here are seven reflections on the on the seven Laudato Si’ goals and are contributions from people across the diocese. An opportunity to pause, pray and determine how we too, can respond to “the cry of the earth and cry of the poor.”

Earth Day 2023

Earth day is 22nd April and is an ideal opportunity to remember that our world is a gift to us from God, entrusted to our care. In his Encyclical, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis reminds us that ‘St Francis [of Assisi], faithful to scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness.’ The Pope goes on to say ‘But a sober look at our world shows a degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey’. There is much we can do in our lives, homes, gardens, parishes and schools to restore the colour and beauty of our world. Please explore the work we are doing across the diocese and how you can help. You can also complete a Climate Pledge Card and make a commitment to take care of our precious planet earth.

Planet earth half in daylight and half in darkness
Caritas Portsmouth logo with the red caritas symbol of a red cross with sun like rays coming out from centre, with Caritas written in black next to it. Undernrath is a red line with Portsmouth Diocese written inside and below that is half of the cross / sun logo shape in grey

Migration Bill

The Catholic Social Action Network is highlighting the issues of the Illegal Migration Bill that would not only deny those people fleeing war and persecution their right to seek safety in the UK and apply for asylum, but will punish them, based on how they came here, not whether they need protection.

The Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth is currently lead sponsor for two refugee families and we have many more people seeking safety in our area, some of whom are being supported via our parishes. Please consider writing to your MP to oppose this bill. You can find more information, details on how to contact your MP and a template letter here.

The Cost of Living Crisis

The crisis is having a devastating effect on families, pushing many deeper into poverty and leading many others to struggle with day-to-day living costs.

Catholic dioceses, like other faith organisations, are mobilising to provide help.

You can read the CSAN response to the Chancellor’s statement on the button below. 

Winchester Eco-brick Group
Winchester Eco-brick group
Eco-brick starter
Eco-brick starter
Eco-brick block
Eco-brick block

Caritas Eco-brick Partnership

The Winchester Eco-Brick group was started by three women with a passion for solving the problems caused by the abundance of plastic waste that we all contribute to on a daily basis. Their solution is to turn this otherwise ignored, and unrecyclable, plastic into eco-bricks that can have many practical and efficient uses, from benches and stools to walls and planters.

Eco-bricks are made entirely from plastic waste; created by filling a plastic bottle with pieces of smaller plastic, that can then be used as a building block as part of a long-lasting structure. These structures can then be dismantled, and the eco-bricks used to assemble new structures or eventually be fully recycled once future technology allows.

There are many benefits to engaging in eco-brick projects. The process of creating the brick itself makes you see directly how much plastic waste you or your household is putting into the brick, which can help you start to think about the need to reduce your plastic usage. As the Eco-Brick members themselves said, the act of taking something that has a negative impact on the environment and transforming it into something that can benefit the community is once small way that anyone can contribute to the common good while reducing their plastic consumption and waste.

Caritas will continue to work with the Winchester Eco-Brick group to spread the message and encourage more people to get involved in this initiative, as well as partnering with our schools on the development of projects that use the eco-bricks produced within our Diocese. More information and a guide on creating your own eco-bricks can be found at, and you can register each brick at, joining an international community of people committed to reducing plastic consumption and creating a positive benefit out of our waste.

Community Tree planting with our schools… some good news on our progress

Over the past couple of months, Caritas Portsmouth has successfully organised and run community tree planting events at two primary schools, and planted trees at a third school, as part of our environmental justice work across the Diocese. 

The first event took place on Tuesday, 15th March at Our Lady & St Joseph’s Primary in Lymington, in the New Forest. With over fifty members of the school and parish communities coming together after school to plant 268 hedgerow saplings. We were especially thankful for the donation of eight fruit trees by members of the Our Lady of Mercy & St Joseph’s congregation, some of whom were able to come and join in the planting.

Our 2nd April event at St Peter’s Primary in Bournemouth had a similar attendance, with families, children, and staff coming along to plant 398 saplings that Saturday; with another 15 orchard trees being planted by the pupils at the Forest School during the week. 

In addition to our community events, we also had the opportunity to work with pupils at Holy Family Primary in Southampton to plant over 160 hedgerow saplings at their school.

Alongside our tree planting we have been holding consultations at the schools as part of our long-term partnership focused on promoting environmental justice initiatives. This has been a great opportunity to receive input and ideas from the pupils, families, and staff about environmental projects they would like to see delivered at their school. These events have served as the beginning of our schools programming at Caritas, and we look forward to continuing to work with these schools on the development of their sites to promote biodiversity and educational opportunities for the pupils and local communities, and to expanding our engagement to include more schools in our Diocese in the future….  

For more information on our schools projects, have a look at our Projects Page on the link below:


St Peters Primary
Our Lady and St Josephs
Caritas Portsmouth logo with the red caritas symbol of a red cross with sun like rays coming out from centre, with Caritas written in black next to it. Undernrath is a red line with Portsmouth Diocese written inside and below that is half of the cross / sun logo shape in grey

Caritas is recruiting new Board members

Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth helps and supports parishes and schools across the diocese to reach out in charity to those in need. The scope of our work includes both social justice and environmental issues and we have some exciting projects planned that will make a real difference to people’s lives . The activities of Caritas are supported and monitored by the Caritas Governance Board on behalf of the Trustees and the Bishop. The board wishes to recruit up to three additional members who will bring energy and commitment to its responsibilities. As part of this expansion, the board also wishes to improve its diversity to better reflect the people that Caritas is seeking to serve.

 If you have a real heart for caring for the poor and for creation, and you have some experience at board level in a charitable organisation or similar , please contact the Chair of the Board, Gerry Penfold ([email protected]) for a copy of the role description. If you know someone who may be suitable and interested in serving on the board, please encourage them to apply. All appointments are subject to interview and require the approval of the Bishop and Trustees.

Good Grub Club  April 12th 2022

Some great BBC South Today footage of our very own Zach and Victoria helping to coordinate activities at the Good Grub Club in Millbrook, Southampton. The news story is at 6 minutes and 25 seconds on the link below.

This is a great example of how Caritas can join local collaborative programmes to achieve a better impact for those in need in our communities.

Good Grub Club is a scheme run by Abri (a social housing provider) with support from Colne Avenue Methodist Church and Caritas Portsmouth.

This is the sort of programme that Caritas  will be running direct from the Community Kitchen at Immaculate Conception, Portswood later this year. We are hoping for a launch date in the summer holidays. 

We are going to be coordinating with the Good Grub Club Team and will be running our activities from Immaculate Conception in their new Community Kitchen, part of their Community Hub project, on alternate days of the week, to create more opportunities locally for families, while avoiding replication of service.


The Good Grub Club supported by ABRI, Colne Avenue Methodist and EnergizeMe

Join the World's First City Wide Plastic Survey - Portsmouth

Plastic pollution is a major problem in our world, and in our cities, yet there is very little data on the issue.

To gain a better idea of where plastic litter is found across the city, and how it gets there, the University of Portsmouth has partnered with Jetsam to deliver the world’s first city-wide plastics survey. The MAPP Project is running in Portsmouth from February to May 2022. The project will help researchers identify patterns and hotspots in plastic pollution, and then go on to inform how community led solutions can be developed.

   Doing your part to help with this survey is as simple as 1,2,3…

   1: Download Jestam from the App Store (iOS) or Play Store (Android)

   2: Register for the Portsmouth Plastic Survey in the ‘Surveys’ section

   3: Use the app to take photos of plastic in Portsmouth on the specified dates each month

The MAPP Project survey runs for two days per month.

4th – 6th February;  4th – 6th March;  1st – 3rd April;  6th – 8th May

Make sure you use the app on those dates to create a snapshot of plastic pollution in Portsmouth, and help bring about change in our communities.

MAPP Project

New Environment Strategy for the Diocese

Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocese Trustees have approved a diocesan Environmental Strategy, which was written by Caritas as the diocesan environmental lead.

The Caritas team will be working on the next steps to implementing the strategy.

This will be to work with the central teams in the Curia’s Department of Support and Administration Services and other teams groups and individuals around the diocese to produce an action plan.

Click on the button below to download the Environment Strategy.

In the meantime, if you would like to help our diocese environment action plan by making a Climate Pledge, please click on the link below which will take you straight to the pledge page. 

Or scan the QR code opposite with your phone camera and tap the link to go direct to the pledge page.

You can also download a copy of the pledge form by clicking on the button below.

Climate Pledge QR Code

Caritas at Christmas

This year, instead of a Christmas Card appeal, Jesuit Refugee Services are  inviting us all to write a “Message of Solidarity” onto an Orange Heart and show your solidarity with those who are seeking asylum and protection in the UK.

You can make your own orange heart using paper/card or download and print this template:

Once you have written your message, you can post a picture of your heart on social media to help us raise awareness and invite others to take part. Tag JRS UK and include the #TogetherWithRefugees on your posts.

You can either display your orange heart somewhere for people to see,… in the window of your home… or as part of a coordinated display in your school, church or community.

More information on work to help refugees can be found on our project page and also in the links below:

Jesuit Refugee Service

Caritas Social Action Network Statement on our response to the Nationalities and Borders bill. 

Pray for refugees.

In the season of Advent, the Cycle of Prayer includes Migrants and Refugees.

As we prepare to celebrate the Nativity of the Lord, we remember that the Holy Family were themselves refugees, driven from their home by fear of persecution. This Advent let us pray for migrants and refugees and pray for ourselves, that our hearts will never be hardened in the face of their plea for sanctuary.

Fossil Fuel Divestment announcement 26th October 2021

On October 26th our diocese will be joining in with the Global Fossil Fuel Divestment announcement.

This decision, which has my full support, was taken by Diocesan Trustees recently, and reflects the commitment from both clergy and laity throughout Portsmouth diocese… to play our part in the search for a more equitable use of our mother earth’s resources…   to “live simply” and in solidarity with the poor.

Pope Francis spoke in his Laudato Si encyclical of St Francis of Assisi’s words:

Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.

This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.

I am delighted that we today are joining with many other faith organisations to raise our voices prior to COP26 to bring attention to the urgent need for change in how we use our global resources.

Bishop Philip Egan

The global divestment announcement, which will take place as the UK prepares to host the UN climate summit (COP26) in Glasgow in November, offers an opportunity to faith organisations – at national, regional and local levels – to highlight the urgent need to divest from fossil fuel companies and invest in solutions to the climate crisis.

” I am delighted that our diocese has committed to divest from all fossil fuel investments. Care for our Common Home is a key theme for Caritas along with Care for the Poor and this is one of many steps on our journey of care.”  

Gerry Penfold Chair, Caritas Portsmouth Diocese


Fossil fuel divestment
Sue, woman with dark hair, stripy t-shirt and dungarees, is giving a certificate to two owners of a local Bangladeshi restaurant, both men dressed in dark colours in a kitchen

Please let us know if you have any news and events relating to Caritas projects by contacting Caritas on:

[email protected]


Sue Cregan, Volunteer Coordinator for InSight@StJohn’s, a Caritas parish project at St. John’s Cathedral shares news of their aims to focus on two of the four priorities outlined in the  Bishop’s Vision: ‘mission to all’ and ‘being outward looking servants of the Lord’…

InSight@StJohn’s is a Caritas parish project which provides a safe place to build community for those who feel isolated, particularly due to mental health issues, but also through homelessness and addictions.
In March 2021, we started working with the Anglo Bangla, a local Bangladeshi restaurant. The generous team, led by Kam, have been donating enough meals to feed our InSight guests, with any leftover meals being delivered to the local women’s refuge.  During National Curry Week (4th-10th Oct), Kam and his colleagues donated  £2 for every order received to InSight. They asked that the donation of over £300 be spent on items to benefit the most vulnerable during the winter months. Thanks to their generosity, we now have a stock of sleeping bags, backpacks, clothing and appropriate food stuffs for any of our homeless guests and others who call in at the Cathedral.