Once we returned from the Christmas holidays our Year 10 ‘CAFOD Young Volunteer team’ began their fundraising for the World Gifts campaign. Having methodically prepared their activity, they were ready to launch a St Gregory’s first – An Escape Room. After introducing their fundraising concept to the school during assemblies they quickly filled up every conceivable slot they could put on during lunchtimes. They readily gave up every lunchtime they had throughout January to ensure two teams per day experienced a mixture of challenges against the clock.

The genius behind this wasn’t necessarily the creation of an escape room, but that the concept cleverly linked the fundraising campaign and ensured every part of the room was educational, encouraged critical thinking and developed empathy. CAFOD World Gifts enables fundraisers to pay for specific items that will make a difference in the developing world. Our Young Volunteer Team chose the gift of a birth certificate (£25) after seeing that so many people in Zimbabwe and other countries lack this basic and essential document. Without a birth certificate people struggle to access healthcare and education, as well as being unable to acquire a passport to travel to safer places.

So developed the premise of our escape room being to complete the challenges to gain a birth certificate and escape the room. The four challenges were categorised as physical, memory, logic and trivia, each being associated with either the struggles faced by those in poverty or the work CAFOD undertake to help. The group managed to raise a wonderful £102 which will buy four birth certificates and change the lives of those people. The group were overwhelmed by how many students wished to support the escape room, but had to stop after a month in order to allow there to be a well deserved winner – a group of eager Year 7s.

As well as being a St Gregory’s first, it has since transpired that the idea of an escape room to raise money for CAFOD World Gifts was also a first for CAFOD in the UK. They contacted us last week to congratulate our students and find out more about their idea. As a result CAFOD have asked to come into St Gregory’s and film our young people in action to help them develop their schools resources for the future!

Mr M Robinson
Lay Chaplain