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UK news in brief

06 November 2015

Ron Jeffries

Big dig: narcissi and crocuses were planted at St Peter’s, Ilford, last month, to enhance the grounds. The community raised £125 to buy the bulbs

Big dig: narcissi and crocuses were planted at St Peter’s, Ilford, last month, to enhance the grounds. The community raised £125 to buy the bulbs

Cambridge receives donation for divinity students

THE University of Cambridge has received £1.2 million in funding from the Kirby Laing Foundation to support graduate students in New Testament Studies at the Faculty of Divinity. Kirby Laing Graduate Studentships will be given to the “best and brightest”, regardless of their financial background, and full tution fees and living costs will be covered by the donation.


Diocese of Westminster becomes Living Wage employer

THE diocese of Westminster is to become the first Roman Catholic diocese in England and Wales to be accredited as a Living Wage employer. The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, signed the accreditation licence, on behalf of the diocese, on Tuesday. The Living Wage was raised by 40p to a minimum of £8.25 per hour by the Government on Monday. More than 2000 businesses have signed up to the scheme, including the insurance-provider Ecclesiastical.


New Gift Aid forms mean charities could lose out

HM REVENUE & Customs is facing criticism for introducing a new Gift Aid declaration form last month, which must be in use by charities and churches from 6 April 2016. Organisations that have already paid for large orders of the old forms could lose out, as they will be invalid. Gift Aid is a way for charities to reclaim tax on donations for the current tax year: for every £1 donated, 25p is added. Letters


CCPAS welcomes new FGM mandatory-reporting law

THE Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) has welcomed a change in the Serious Crime Act which now makes it a criminal offence not to report incidents of female genital mutilation. CCPAS has called for consistency in the law, by making it compulsory to report other forms of child abuse. The legislation came into force on 31 October.


Anonymous donation prompts call to police

A SUSPICIOUS package that was the focus of a bomb scare at St Mary’s, West Malling, in Kent, on Monday morning, turned out to be a donation of cassette tapes. The police were called in after members of the congregation at the 11 a.m. prayer service spotted two black suitcases under the organ loft, the Kent Messenger reported. Police officers found hundreds of tapes of organ and classical music.


World Vision’s ‘Story Shop’ opens in shopping malls

THE Christian charity World Vision has launched a project at Westfield shopping malls in London to encourage shoppers to “sponsor a child”, or make a one-off donation to the refugee crisis appeal. The Story Shop, where people can watch and read the stories of 100 children from around the world, opened in Shepherd’s Bush last month, and in Stratford on Monday.

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