Grant for pilgrim facilities on the Camino Francés


We are delighted to announce a grant of 40,000€ to the Benedictine Community in Rabanal del Camino on the Camino Francés.

The Benedictine Order has provided hospitality for pilgrims on the way to Santiago for many centuries. In recent years they established a community and a monastery in the village of Rabanal del Camino. An important part of their ministry is welcoming pilgrims who wish to stay to rest and reflect. Accommodation is provided in a well appointed Pilgrim House adjacent to the monastery. Pilgrims of all faiths and none are welcome to stay for a minimum of three days. There are no requirements or expectations. The only rule is that pilgrims join the Benedictine community for meals.

The grant is the final portion of funding necessary to complete a major expansion of the facilities including the creation of a “Pilgrim Garden” dedicated to the memory of Fr Gerard Postlethwaite – teacher, pilgrim and priest.

Dr Bob Postlethwaite said, “ My brother Gerard was himself a Benedictine Monk for a time before he was ordained priest. He was also a pilgrim. His last ambition was to establish walking retreats on the Camino, indeed he was leading the first such retreat when he died. This retreat centre for pilgrims reflects all these aspects of Gerard’s life. He also loved gardening. The creation of a Pilgrim Garden dedicated to his memory is a permanent and worthy memorial which many pilgrims will enjoy in the years to come.”

Further information Contact John Rafferty, Secretary,

The Camino Fund is now closed for applications.

Pilgrim Garden

Camino Fund First Awards

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The Camino Fund

The Camino Fund was established by family and friends in memory of Father Gerard Postlethwaite, a member of the Camino Chaplaincy who sadly died whilst leading a group walking retreat. After Fr Gerard died his relatives and friends provided a first donation to the Pilgrims’ Memorial Garden on the Camino Francés being established by Rebekah Scott. This was to fund a memorial stone for Fr Gerard and for any other pilgrims whose relatives may not have the financial resources to remember them in this way. Thus the idea of the Camino Fund was born.

More information:

Awards Budget

Currently the Camino Fund stands at just over 50,000€. Half of this amount was donated by Gerard’s family. The rest has been donated by a range of individuals and companies. Thank you to everyone. The more money we raise the more awards we can make.

The Aim of the Fund

A wise grant maker once said, “it is easy to fund activity, it much harder to make grants which will cause lasting change.”  The overarching aim of the Camino Fund is to provide relatively small grants combined with advice and “know how” to a modest range of projects which have the potential to have far reaching effects. Our first, but not exclusive, priority is to fund projects which encourage more young people to experience the Camino to Santiago.

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First Awards

Walking Retreats on the Camino

Fr Gerard had the idea of providing a spiritual retreat for a group of people whilst they walked a Camino together. We are delighted that his concept will be continued and developed under the leadership of Fr Tim Redmond. Fr Tim, a Kiltegan Father, is formerly a paediatrician and also serves as the Chaplain to Catholic People’s week. He is a very experienced pilgrim, having walked from Canterbury to Santiago as well as a number of other Camino routes. He is currently walking from Canterbury to Jerusalem in stages. He will be assisted by another very experienced Camino pilgrim, Mark McCarthy. The Camino Fund will provide financial support for participants who lack resources, particularly young people.

Fr Tim arriving in Rome having walked 2,100km on foot, through England, France, Switzerland, Italy and finally to St Peter’s Square in the Vatican City. There to meet him was Fr Raphael a fellow Kiltegan Father from Zambia, who was studying in Rome. You can read more about Fr Tim’s adventures here:

Young Star Mentoring –

This organisation provides a Camino experience for young people who have been in care. A year or so ago they were considered for support but there was concern at their lack of policies with respect to Safeguarding and good governance. The organisation has improved in this regard and for the next year we will provide a  grant to support three or four young people to participate in the Young Star Programme.

A group of Young Stars arrive in Santiago

Global Pilgrim Photo and Story Competition for the Holy Year 2021

Holy years in Santiago were created by a Papal Bull in 1179. The ‘Holy Door’ of the Cathedral is only opened in these Holy Years and pilgrims can enter through this door. These Holy Years happen when St James’ Feast  Day (25 July) is on a Sunday. The last Holy Year was in 2010.

The Camino Fund has initiated this competition which will bring together all of the English language Pilgrim Associations to celebrate the Camino to Santiago for the Holy Year.

The Competition is a collaboration between American Pilgrims on the Camino, the Australian Friends of the Camino, The Canadian Company Of Pilgrims, the Camino Society Ireland and the Confraternities of Saint James in the UK, South Africa and Malta. More details will be announced in due course.

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Walking through the Holy Door

Pancho’s Place – is a new organisation committed to reaching out to individuals and families experiencing isolation, stress and mental health issues. The Camino Fund will provide the finances for a first group pilgrimage.

Young Leaders’ Camino

In October 2020 a group of 8 “Young Leaders” and three leaders will embark on their first pilgrimage supported by the Camino Fund. This is a Church of England initiative to find and provide development experiences for young people from urban estates to help them grow in confidence as leaders within their communities and wider society.

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Fr Tony O’Riordan SJ – Southern Sudan

 Like Fr Gerard, Tony O’Riordan served as a chaplain in Santiago. Previously he ministered in Ireland before being posted to Southern Sudan where he says he is almost “overwhelmed by the scale of human suffering and deprivation.” Much of Fr Tony’s work is with young people to establish basic education services. The Camino Fund received a donation of £1,000 with a request that we send it to help Fr Tony. We doubled it and did just that!    

Tony O’Riordan SJ the leader of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) team in Maban, South Sudan

President – Rt Rev Ralph Heskett, C.Ss.R Bishop of Halam

Camino Fund in memory of Fr Gerard Postlethwaite

For those in the UK and Ireland – for now!

The Camino Chaplaincy is pleased to announce the launch of the Camino Fund which aims to encourage more young people to make the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela by supporting leaders who are organising groups to undertake the Camino.  
The Camino Fund is dedicated to the memory of Fr Gerard Postlethwaite and is being provided through donations from his family and friends.

Fr Gerard arriving in Santiago having walked from Le Puy en Velez

Fr Gerard Postlethwaite
Fr Gerard was a priest of the Diocese of Clifton and he served two terms with the Camino Chaplaincy. Gerard was an exceptional person. He joined the Benedictines, studying at Saint Benet’s Hall Oxford, and was at Ampleforth in Basil Hume’s time there. As a Benedictine he took the name Basil. He went to the Edinburgh Archdiocese to do parish work and was seconded to El Salvador to work in a parish for over ten years. On his return to the UK he served as school chaplain at Saint Mary’s School, Shaftesbury, and then at Saint Edward’s School, Cheltenham. In both places he also assisted at local parishes. In 2013 he went as parish priest of Chard, Crewkerne and Ilminster. In that year he completed his first walking pilgrimage from Le Puy in France to Santiago de Compostela. He was very taken with the Camino and subsequently led a parish Pilgrimage from Sarria, and served as a peripatetic chaplain on the Camino Francés. He also completed the Camino Portugués twice. Fr Gerard saw the Camino experience as a powerful opportunity for spiritual renewal. He decided to develop a new model of religious retreat – a retreat whilst walking the Camino to Santiago. We organised the first for him with 15 participants. He embarked on the first of these with his group of pilgrims from Barcelos in Portugal on the 12th of September 2017. Sadly, only four days later, having arrived in Valença do Minho, he died suddenly. The group dedicated their pilgrimage to his memory and continued to walk to Santiago.

Camino Fund
The aim of the Camino Fund is to provide small grants of up to £1,000 to support leaders who are organising groups to undertake the Camino to Santiago. The fund will also consider supporting individual young people who may not have the resources to join such a group.


Application should be made on the form available from the Secretary, John Rafferty,, Applicants will be informed when a decision will be taken on their application and they will be informed of the outcome.

Applications will be assessed by a panel comprising Dr Bob Postlethwaite, Kay Caldwell and John Rafferty, each of whom have walked the Camino to Santiago. The panel will make recommendations on the applications to Bishop Ralph Heskett, who will make the final decision.

Who is eligible to apply?

Leaders – including Youth Leaders, teachers and those engaged in ministry whoare members of a recognised organisation or parish in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and who plan to take a group of young people on the Camino to Santiago. Applicants must have relevant training, be approved by the organisation’s Safeguarding Procedure and provide details of a referee – who will normally be an official representative of the organisation.

Young people – Group leaders may make an application for support for a young person who wishes to participate in a Camino but does not have the necessary financial resources.

Examples of what the grant can be used for

Each applicant needs to explain how they will use the grant to assist them. For example, the grant could be used to: 

  • Help towards the cost of practice walks as the group prepares for the Camino
  • Pay for Insurance for the group
  • Subsidise the cost of aspects of the travel involved to and from, or within Spain
  • Reduce the cost of accommodation or food on the Camino or in Santiago
  • Assist those young people who couldn’t normally afford to go with the group
  • Contribute towards the leader’s costs (to a maximum of £200)                                   

Payment of Grant
The grant will normally be paid to successful applicants in one payment at a time the fund will agree with them. Grants will only be paid into the Bank Account of the organisation to which the applicant belongs. Grants will only be paid to individuals in exceptional circumstances.

Camino Reports
All grant recipients should provide a report on their Camino experience including photographs to be posted on the Camino Fund website to inspire others.