Watch out for “charity” collectors this Christmas

From Domestic Extremist:

The UCKG (aka the Universal Chuggers from the Kingdom of Grabbers) are out in force again over Christmas, amassing more money than they know what to do with.

Reports of UCKG people collecting with their big red buckets are coming in from right across London: Brixton, Shoreditch, Stoke Newington, Dalston, Hackney, Kilburn, Finsbury Park, Holborn, Muswell Hill, Camden… In Angel they are apparently carpeting the pavements. A resident of Chingford reported eight(!) of them inside the Costco store there. They also love hanging around Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. And I hear they’ve been spotted in M&S in Birmingham too.

UCKG is on the record as believing in demonic possession, including the demonic possession of children. (Remember the UCKG’s involvement in the Climbie case? A UCKG pastor declared to the trial that he believed the child was ‘possessed’). So when the charity chuggers say they are ‘collecting for children’, interpret that as you will.

UCKG in the UK made a surplus of more than £5m in the financial year to February 2008 (the last accounts filed) and has built up income reserves of some £26m I understand. So it’s not as if UCKG actually needs this money for anything. The people who collect it are unpaid volunteers and the money just adds to the ever-growing UCKG money pile, destined I imagine to be spent on further real estate and media company acquisitions at some point in the future.

I now wish I’d posted about them when I saw UCKG collectors in Blackheath last week – muscling in on a children’s carol-singing session for Crisis outside the station (see picture). I’ve also seen them in Greenwich twice (outside the DLR station and outside Sainsburys) in recent weeks. In recent years UCKG bought the old Catford ABC cinema, opening it as a church in 2007, and are trying to do the same in Walthamstow. It’s also running an ad campaign inside local buses.

Of course, if you want to give cash to a religious organisation that’s already loaded, feel free. But if not, be warned, and keep your cash in your pocket.

In related news, Bromley Council has turned down a planning application by another church, KICC, to develop an old cinema in Crystal Palace into a place of worship. KICC had outbid Greenwich Picturehouse owner City Screen to the building in Church Road.


  1. Blimey, were those the ones tunelessly singing carols and shaking buckets? My colleagues and I all noticed them, but largely for their lack of vocal skills rather than the dodgy nature of their ‘charity’. The good news is that the singing was so bad people were rushing past, and hopefully not slinging any money in!

  2. I loathe them. I especially loathe the way they never really declare themselves as a church on their little buckets, and never say where the money goes…

  3. I run into them everywhere. Stratford (both outside the station and outside the shopping centre), Canning Town, Plaistow, Croydon, Seven Sisters, Tottenham Hale, Wood Green.. the list goes on. They must be taking in a ton of money. They got unceremoniously shooed out of Sainsburys in Wood Green last year after the customers got increasinly grumbly and the management looked into the nature of the collections.

    Did a bit of reading up on this when they started appearing around London again this winter. Bizzarre that they should be sending roughly equal amounts of money both to and from Brazil in the name of unspecified ‘social’ programmes.

  4. I’ve heard that the collectors are set a quota for the day and are asked to make up any shortfall themselves… trying to get this confirmed but if true, its pretty shocking. In Brazil (where the UCKG are originally from) and the USA, they’re charged with international money laundering and fraud… its a case that’s taken ten years for the state prosecutors to collect the evidence. Will be interesting to see if it spreads over here but Interpol are investigating… Funnily enough, the UK chief of the UCKG, Renato Cardoso, has headed to the USA permanently (Houston). So much for their claims that there’s no strong link between the UK and overseas branches eh?

  5. Also, if anyone spots them collecting frequently anywhere, please do let the Met Police know… all charities only have a licence to collect once a year in a single borough or once a year London wide. Please do post any pics or info here too!

  6. “all charities only have a licence to collect once a year in a single borough”

    That’d rule out Childline Woman, who has been rattling a tin around most pubs in the Greenwich/Woolwich area every weekend for about 20 years now, surely?

  7. I’d always thought there was something fishy about UCKG, but could never quite put my finger on it. Thanks for flagging them up.

    They’ve got a branch right above Sainsbury’s in Wood Green, and often collect on their own doorstep. I’ve seen them elsewhere in the town centre recently though, sometimes with someone dressed in a large bunny costume.

    I’d forgotten about the Met’s rules on charity collections, but might pay a little more attention to the bucket-shakers now. Doesn’t really seem very fair on the rest of the charities who are sticking by the rules.

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