The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) launches its annual Lent campaign, ‘give it up!’ today. With backing from X-Factor host Dermot O’Leary and Coronation Street’s Ben Price (Nick Tilsley) the charity is urging people to give something up and make a difference for those living in some of the poorest communities in the world.

Lent is embraced by many as an opportunity to re-ignite those failed new years resolutions, to kick start a new health regime or kick out an old bad habit.

The official start of Lent, Ash Wednesday will see CAFOD is calling on people in England and Wales to give something up and donate the money saved to support their work in over 50 countries fighting poverty and injustice.

Life-long supporter of the charity, Dermot O’Leary is going all out, giving up chocolate, crisps, sweets and fizzy drinks, he said:

“I have been supporting CAFOD’s Lent fundraising since my school days and it’s just such a great and simple way to raise money. You only have to give up one thing, one thing, and you can make a massive difference to someone else’s life.”

Fellow TV star Ben Price is also joining the effort, giving up his daily diet coke and encouraging others to get involved.
“Over the years I have heard of CAFOD supporters giving up all sorts for Lent, from chocolate and magazines to Facebook and beer, raising millions of pounds in the process. Anyone can get involved and all donations, big and small, really can help  transform lives.'
If you already live vice free or on a tight budget, you could get sponsored to give up an activity instead, like playing computer games or tweeting. You could even hold your own fundraising event; for further hints, tips and support just visit the ‘give it up!’ website.

As well as raising vital funds this Lent supporters can take action by backing ‘Get down to business’, a campaign supporting small businesses in the poorest countries. This campaign calls on the UK Government to support millions of vulnerable people as they work to lift themselves out of poverty by ensuring that overseas aid and trade policies put them first.