Face-Faw (Friendship and Aid for Central and Eastern Europe - Friendship and Aid for the World) is the student-led charity organisation of Ampleforth College.

Many of our students have reserves of empathy and compassion: when they see the suffering that exists in the world, they may be moved to help. Sometimes it is hard to know where to start.

FACE-FAW is the students' charity, and operates under the auspices of the St Laurence Education Trust, the registered charity of Ampleforth College. It provides the students with an opportunity to do something in response.

FACE-FAW stands for “Friendship and Aid, Central and Eastern Europe, Friendship and Aid, the World.” It is the name of students' charity, which I suppose for many, sounds strangely convoluted but as Fr Francis eloquently put it, this name expresses “accurately and beautifully what it is - the word “Friendship” expresses the Motivation, the word “Aid” the Response, the Action.” He also sensed, I think, that FACE-FAW was an implicit invitation to be open to others from all corners of the globe.

We fundraise and then re-distribute all money to charities specifically selected by our students. We support a wide range of worthy causes and our hope is that this allows our students to engage with the Christian works of mercy:

to feed the hungry;

to give water to the thirsty;

to clothe the naked;

to shelter the homeless;

to visit the sick and the imprisoned.


Face-Faw supports projects and is involved in promoting gap year opportunities for students and Old Amplefordians. We have 25 students involved with FACE-FAW as a Friday afternoon activity and about another 5 who come on Wednesdays at 5.45 because they do alternative activities on Fridays. These students form the core student committee for FACE-FAW known as COG (the Coordinating Group). There are also others involved in the houses on an ad-hoc basis, known as HATs (House Aid Team). Everyone in the school has the opportunity to support the charity, especially through whole school fundraising initiatives.

This year to date, we have made the following Aid payments:

  • Dec-18 Mary’s Meals   £14,234 (of which £10,682.65 is eligible for the double the love campaign)
  • Dec-18 DePaul   £1,000
  • Dec-18 The Passage   £1,000
  • Dec-18 St George’s Crypt  £1,000
  • Jan-19 Young Minds  £1,000 (TBC)

Last year FACE-FAW made the following Aid Payments:                  

  • Sep-17  Mary's Meals £1000
  • Oct-17   Francis Libermann School £2615
  • Dec-17  Mary's Meals £6344 (this figure was doubled by the UK government)
  • Dec-17  Buigiri Blind school £1672
  • Apr-18  Holy Ghost Fathers  £1249
  • Jul-18    RHCF £520

Projects that Face-Faw supports include Mary’s Meals focusing on Chigwaja Primary School in Malawi, The Romanian Children’s Humanitarian Foundation through Face-Faw/RCHF Summer Camps, Francis Maria Libermann School in   Zanzibar, San Lorenzo School in Santiago, Chile and Depaul UK, for the young and homeless in the North-East. Other UK based projects also include house retreats being linked to Yorkshire hospices. Further projects are located in Kenya, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and in the UK.  

In 2015-2016, Face-Faw organised activities to support these projects - such as SHACATHON on the 22nd February 2016 and the 6th Annual Croquet Tournament on the 28th May 2015. Other fundraising events include:

  • All-Night Sleep Out - 5-6th December 2016
  • Own Clothes Day - 28th January 2016
  • A Gig at Windmill - 14th May 2016
  • The Big Walk -19-20th June 2016 (supporting Friendship Holiday and other projects)
  • Collections at Carol Services - 16th December 2016
  • Marketing of Face-Faw projects.

The funding of projects, not including the Friendship Holiday, in 2015-2016 was £19,764. The net income in 2015-2016 was £18,974. 

See what FACE-FAW stands for and why we chose to support it here:

Sleep-out to demonstrate solidarity with the homeless community. 
An article written by Tom Ely-Corbett (St. John's Year 13) 




These are words I would use to describe home, words you would probably use too. During this Christmas break many of us will be heading home, subconsciously aware that we’ll have a bed to sleep in, food on our plates and access to clean clothes - basic necessities that we take for granted every day.

However, it is these fundamentals which many people are deprived of at the most bitter of times. Homelessness is worse than ever with approximately 300,000 homeless people in the UK at the moment and over 5,000 sleeping rough. 

On the evening of Saturday the 8th of December, 23 Ampleforth students slept-out in solidarity with the homeless. Braving near freezing temperatures and submerged in large puffer jackets, fleeces and trackies we faced the unsympathetic night ahead. Fortunately, the CCF armed us with sleeping bags, bivvy bags and mats, so we were not entirely exposed to the elements. When I mentioned the sleep-out to my friends they dismissed it. I was met with “Why would you want to sleep outside?”, usually followed by “do you know how cold it is?”

I personally wanted to realise what it is like being exposed to the elements and hopefully grasp, to some extent, what emotions are triggered as a result of being exposed to such conditions; to understand what homeless people go through on a daily basis.

What struck me first, both physically and mentally, was the biting wind. The wind coming across the valley was fast, making us even colder. Because of the windburn my cheeks were sore, my lips were burning. Facing the sleep-out as a group definitely made it easier - we all got on really well which increased the morale greatly.

At 7:30 it was time to get up. Mass had been arranged underneath the balcony overlooking the scenic sunrise. My fingers were icicles. I felt groggy. My neck was out of kilter. I wanted to eat, to sleep, I wanted to get inside. In reality, we experienced only half the battle. I was not worrying about when I will get my next meal, if I can find shelter tomorrow. We only experienced the physical, not the psychological. 

The sleep-out taught me a lot. It made me realise how tough being homeless must be. It taught me to appreciate my pillow, the lack of which was hard to endure. The effects we experienced were after 1 night, can you comprehend how you’d feel doing it every day of every week?

Thanks to the fundraising efforts of FACEFAW and the generosity of the Ampleforth community, £1000 will be donated each to DePaul, The Passage and The Crypt in Leeds.

 Some of FACE-FAW's remarkable work has also been featured in the press, such as our 'Colour Run' to raise money for a hospital ward in Zanzibar and a sponsored abseil during last year's Exhibition

Face-Faw also provides links with projects for possible gap year service.

Under its present title, Face-Faw dates from 1993; it was the inspiration of the then Headmaster, Fr Leo Chamberlain. However, the aspirations and activities of Face-Faw pre-date the invention of its title. In the Second World War and afterwards, the support for Eastern Europe and Poland involved the creation of a hostel for Polish students in Oswaldkirk. In the 1980s, Fr Leo was involved in supporting aid to Poland and even travelled to Poland  on a relief lorry at that time. In 1992-1995, during the Balkans Conflict, Face-Faw helped with aid to Bosnia-Herzegovina.


We owe a debt of gratitude to the ingenuity and hard work of the late Fr Francis Dobson OSB for all his dedicated involvement in FACE-FAW

''I had the immense privilege of working with Fr Francis for two years as his Deputy for FACE-FAW. To do so only confirmed what I had learned during my previous friendship with him: boundless enthusiasm - one of his more infectious traits. He was always positive about proposals from students or myself, no matter how far-fetched, wanting to affirm the initiative even when he might know from experience that nothing would come of it. This was rooted I think in his courtesy, a sincere respect for others and for the spirit of good in them. Where I might be tired of half-baked proposals, I was humbled by his generosity of spirt; if offence was given or received in our working relationship, it was always he who was first to retract, first to seek to heal any friction. His enthusiasm reached out also of course to the numerous projects that FACE-FAW supported. There were lengthy correspondences with Tanzania, Ethiopia, Romania, Ecuador, with Mary’s Meals and homeless projects in York or Middlesbrough. Every endeavour supported by FACE-FAW could feel cherished, and would have known that the funds being sent were not just the product of generic ‘giving to charity,’ but were passed on with sincere interest and goodwill. This is not to ignore the eccentricities of his working style. Rare was the receipt of a single email – one usually got a series, each correcting its predecessor, or adding a reminiscence, a new calculation, or a cricket score. Promoting FACE-FAW within the school was a particular concern of his, with which went his insistence on brand consistency. Students would be given a string of up to 50 slides for presentation at Assemblies, with a running script the logic of which was sometimes, to be frank, baffling. And then there was his passion for Wisden and Medjugorje and socks. What I saw above all in Fr Francis was that things were never, ever, about him. I saw that he was concerned not for his own status or interests, and was secretly always rooting for the other person, and underneath it all for God, for love of Whom he wrote so movingly in an earlier issue of the Ampleforth Diary, and for whom - though not without struggles and anxieties - he so joyfully lived in the guise of ‘holy fool.’ Richard Hudson (W84) 


I’m pretty sure that Fr Francis first became involved with FACE-FAW back in 1993, though it is not always easy to be sure about anything concerning Fr Francis. Back then, it was just called FACE: Friendship and Aid for Central and Eastern Europe. Fr Francis soon added the FAW: Friendship and Aid for the World, to include Ampleforth’s other aid work, especially in Africa. I suppose for many, the name of Ampleforth’s school charity is strangely convoluted, but as Fr Francis eloquently put it, this name expresses “accurately and beautifully what it was - the word ‘friendship’ expressed the motivation, the word ‘aid’ the response, the action.” He also sensed, I think, that FACE-FAW was an implicit invitation to be open to others from all corners of the globe. Fr Francis was still motivating students to action until the last weeks of his life. He had been helping to organise the FACE-FAW rock concert in December 2017 and, more remarkably, was raised from his sick-bed to a wheelchair, so that he could facilitate the collections from the school carol concerts. This final fundraising effort was directed towards Mary’s Meals (a charity that helps feed, for a year, school children in Africa), and Fr Francis was extremely excited by news that everything we raised, if received before a 31st December deadline, would be doubled by the government. This seemed to give him an additional mental energy, even as physically he was weakening. In total he helped to raise £12,687 towards feeding 999 children at our partner school Chigwaja Primary in Malawi. News of this sum reached me on 18th December 2017; it was the last email that I received from him. Since his death, the students have been determined to carry on his great work. This April, they will be taking part in a ‘colour run’ to raise funds for a project in Zanzibar in collaboration with the Bishop of Zanzibar. Students have designed T-shirts printed with Francis’ face; they will be wearing these as they complete the run and have all colours of paint flung at them! We hope that this will be in some way a fitting tribute to a monk who brought so much colour to our lives: we think Fr Francis would cherish the idea in any case. While FACE-FAW has supported various projects in Zanzibar since 2006, we are specifically donating towards the construction of a new male ward at the St Camillus dispensary, Tomondo, which will be dedicated in memory of Fr Francis. The students have other fundraising initiatives coming to fruition next term: 25 students will be running in the Yorkshire Warrior - a 10-15km endurance run with obstacles of varying degrees of unpleasantness - there will be a swim-along-to-thesound-of-music event, which will be about as mad as it sounds, the annual croquet tournament at Exhibition, a sleep-out for the homeless, an abseil off the Abbey Church and more I am sure, but it is hoped that something of Fr Francis’ spirit will always live on with FACE-FAW. Dan Davison (O00)

The Ampleforth Diary Spring 2018 edition, featured below, provides further insight into the Fr Francis' transformative role in FACE-FAW 



Keep up to date with the latest news from Face-Faw.