Young parishioners in Hampshire from have raised more than £650 by completing a sponsored dip in the sea, in a bid to help transform communities around the world as part of the aid agency CAFOD’s Lent campaign.

The youngsters were members of the St Mary Margaret Park Gate's Young St. Vincent de Paul (Young SVP) group.

Fired up by the campaign, which focuses on the theme of turning ‘little fish into big fish’, the fund raisers decided on the idea of running into the cold English Channel.

The ten group members headed to Salterns Road sea front and ran into the waves cheered on by supporters, where they had to stay for a minimum of three minutes and a maximum of ten.

Group co-leader, Belinda O’Leary: “Our youth are amazing and our Parish were very happy to support them.

"Our ‘little fish’ wanted to raise money so they could support those like Florence, the Zambian widower who CAFOD supported to set up a fish farm.

"We’re very proud of their commitment to do their bit for a wonderful cause. It certainly proved that fundraising can be fun!”

This Lent, CAFOD is working with communities in the South African country of Zambia. It is estimated that over half of Zambians live below the poverty line. This means that many families do not have enough money to meet basic needs such as food, housing and clothing.

CAFOD’s partners in Zambia provide training in fish farming, beekeeping and crop farming as well as helping individuals within communities develop business skills so those most in need understand how to get a better price for their goods, market them and even set up business partnerships.

By training individuals in the community, they will be able to share their new knowledge and empower the whole community. The money raised by the Young SVP group at St. Margaret Mary will mean that CAFOD’s partners will be able to continue to support projects around the world.

CAFOD’s representative for Park Gate, Jo Lewry, said: “We would like to say a big thank you to the Young SVP group at St. Margaret Mary for joining us in transforming communities this March, both for the Lenten and the East Africa appeal. By coming together and adding up all the small things, we can make a massive difference.

“It is the continued support from across England and Wales that helps empower communities around the world so that they are able to feed their families and make a living.”