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What is Caritas?

“Caritas” is the practical expression of Christian love; a special grace received in Baptism, the fire of the Father’s love for us and in us” ​

Caritas Portsmouth works at grassroots level through our parish communities. Inspired by Catholic faith, Caritas is the helping hand of the Church – reaching out to the poor, vulnerable and excluded, regardless of race or religion, to build a world based on justice and fraternal love.




Faith in Action

We are inspired by the Gospels, by the teachings of the Catholic Church and by the hopes of people living in poverty, the marginalised, vulnerable or isolated. We encourage everyone to respond to local humanitarian need, to promote integral human development and to advocate on the causes of poverty and violence. We animate Catholic communities and all people of good will in solidarity with the suffering of their brothers and sisters across the diocese.

Transforming Lives

Caritas promotes integral human development so that people in the worst off and most disadvantaged positions within our communities are free to flourish and live with opportunity and dignity. We work to ensure that our natural environment is managed responsibly and sustainably in the interests of the entire human family.

Calling for a Better World

Caritas seeks a world where the voices of those in need are heard and acted upon. This is a world where women and men in the poorest and most disadvantaged communities are able to influence the systems, decisions and resources that affect them. They can then live under governments, institutions and structures that are just and accountable.

How We Do It

We look for opportunities where the need is greatest and where there is no service provision, or where there are gaps in service provision. Caritas develops and proves pilot projects in the social justice and environment arenas, working with the most vulnerable groups and individuals in need, with people of any faith and of no faith.

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Parishes and Local Organisations

Caritas works jointly with approved third party organisations who provide expert and professional input. We put together these organisations’ expertise with parish-based community contact volunteers. Caritas works to recognise, mobilise and celebrate the enormous potential (and the Catholic Church’s great strength) of these parish-based community contact volunteers.

Caritas looks for opportunities of making best use of scarce resources, encouraging all who work and volunteer within Caritas to understand the relevance and contribution of working together, and being open to the experience of others.

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Beacon Parishes

Caritas looks to identify Beacon Parishes. These parishes act as hubs and will develop a number of outreach projects… projects looking at befriending and support for the lonely and socially isolated, projects to support the homeless, for those recovering from addiction, for those with mental illness, projects to help ex-offenders reintegrate with society, projects to help support those in danger of sexual exploitation and/or domestic violence, to support those in absolute poverty, for children leaving the care system, projects to help refugees settle into their new communities… the list is near endless. From these Beacon Parishes, good practice and effective projects will spread to other parishes.

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Champions Programme

Volunteers working within Caritas projects have great impact… they make differences to the lives of the people with whom they interact… the differences may be small and sometimes difficult to perceive … but they are real differences which mount up and can, in time, produce large impacts.

In return, our guests also participate in the process of giving… with the volunteers receiving great benefit themselves from the interactions and from the act of giving. It is often difficult, in some projects, to know who the volunteer is and who is the guest. Caritas is based on the concept that the benefit of giving is always a two-way process.

Our work fosters this goodwill, acknowledging and celebrating these acts of charity, enabling others to participate and to grow in their faith.

Caring for Creation

We use our environmental role, that of promoting “Care for Creation”, and the integral human ecological conversion that is necessary for us, as Christians, to understand the connection between “the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth” … we use this environmental role to join up, on a day-to-day basis, in direct action projects, concern for the environment with our social justice work.

We also work in the communication arena, advocating the concepts and themes of Catholic Social Teaching (social justice and environment) here within the Diocese of Portsmouth and wider in our geographic area. We work with other Diocesan departments, CAFOD and Laudato Si groups to alter our organisation’s structural behaviour, looking at ethical investment, at greening up the diocesan estates, at transport policies and at energy consumption. We work with other Diocesan departments, CAFOD and Laudato Si groups to alter individual behaviours, in providing best practice guidance to parishioners, and others outside the Catholic Church, on environment and social action changes.

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Some of our Projects

Insight Projects


Families Together

Community Kitchens

Biodiversity Projects

Tree Planting

Climate Change Pledges

Fossil Fuel Divestment

Case Studies from our work in May 2022

Just some of the wonderful things that are going on across our parishes.

Caritas Case Studies (May 2022)