over the Christmas period I encountered representatives from the United Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG), the present owners of the EMD, collecting money for their church in several locations in London from Christmas shoppers. I wrote to their public relations company to express my concern that the collectors at these locations were asking for money for a “good cause” but did not elaborate on what this might be so it was unclear to the public how the money they gave would be spent. I also asked them to explain where and when they would be publishing the results of their fundraising drive as they are required to do by law. I’ve now received the following response which I’m reproducing below for information which may be of interest to many people in Walthamstow given their ownership of the EMD cinema building.

Hi
Stella,

 

If I
may give you an overview of the UCKG HelpCentre’s 2009 Christmas Carols appeal,
it should answer most of your questions. We are very happy for you to pass this
on in full.

This
is the first time that UCKG has undertaken a large scale licensed street collection
in London, and
it has been both fruitful and a valuable learning experience.

To
start with the necessary
licences were sought through the Met Police and granted for London wide collections
during the period 1 - 24 December. This means having to guarantee that
you are able to collect in at least 20 of the 32 London boroughs. In addition some
licences were obtained for mostly small scale collections in towns and
cities outside London
where UCKG has branches. Different rules apply in each location, and I suggest
that we do not need to go into these as the bulk of activity was in London.

Nationwide,
UCKG fielded a total of 2,194 registered volunteer fundraisers, drawn from its
church members (obviously they were not all on the streets at once). A generous
public and help from various
organisations that
allowed them to collect on private premises enabled them to raise just under
£404,000. I can advise you that funds collected are designated to help in
supporting community services at the 22 full time UCKG HelpCentre branches in
the UK
and for maintenance of the buildings.

Two
projects that will be supported heavily are the 24 hour telephone Helpline [call:
0207 686 6000] and the completion of a new Youth Centre in Peckham, south London. There are notes
on both of these activities at the end of this email, which you may like to
share with people who ask you about the UCKG’s work.

As
regards the two young girls you encountered, we can only
apologise most sincerely, if they - or any other UCKG collectors -
behaved badly. There were a lot of collections going on in London over the 2009 pre-Christmas period and
unfortunately UCKG is aware of instances where its collectors were also treated
to rudeness in what may at times have been overly competitive and stressful environments.
A full review of the collectors’ feedback is under way so that UCKG may
learn from them and take appropriate action. Other post-collection work
currently in progress includes the calculation of expenses and preparation of
accounts.

Supporting the UCKG Helpline

UCKG
community services that will benefit from the fund raising include our 24 hour
Helpline, which dealt with over 7,400 enquiries in 2009. In December 797 calls
were mostly about depression, however the Helpline regularly responses to a
wide range of concerns about family and marriage problems, illnesses, financial,
career, faith and immigration difficulties. As appropriate we provide support
and advice, or refer callers to a range of specialist charities and
organisations including some who help with homelessness.

An ambitious development programme

Funds
will also go towards upgrading UCKG HelpCentres so that they better serve their
local communities. A top priority is the HelpCentre in Rye Lane, Peckham and the immediate task
there is to complete the long awaited Youth Centre that will focus on training,
academic excellence, and life skills for young men and women aged 14 - 25.

The
Peckham branch of the church’s Victory Youth Group will operate from this
new Youth Centre. It has an excellent track record in helping young people, including
former offenders, and giving them a new outlook so they become law abiding
citizens, eager to contribute to the life of the community.

Kind
regards,

 

Jenny

 

 

Jenny Walton

Director (Public Relations)

D: +44 (0) 1962 893 907

 

T: +44 (0) 1962 893 893

http://www.remarkablegroup.co.uk

Please note that despite earlier indications from the local authority, there is no further news as to when the UCKG application to convert the EMD into a church will be heard at a planning meeting. This is despite the deadline for objections being over three months ago in September 2009. I will continue to update this site with any further information on this issue I receive.

 



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