Christmas Appeal for a National Treasure

Asset of community value, Christian faith, conservation and restatoration, Listed building, London,

Thursday 1st December 2011

The UCKG HelpCentre is relaunching its appeal to raise £1 million for the conservation and restoration of The National, Kilburn, a Grade II* listed building, with 24 days of carol singing in London and street collections around the UK.

Groups of singers will serenade commuters, shoppers and passers-by throughout London with seasonal anthems from now until Christmas Eve.  Outside the capital smaller groups of UCKG’s volunteer fundraisers are on the same mission in various towns and cities.

The money is needed for a major refurbishment project and urgent structural repairs to the iconic former cinema, which now houses a UCKG HelpCentre incorporating a training centre, Pentecostal church and associated community outreach activities.

Built by Edward A Stone in 1914, and easily recognised by its distinctive dome, The National was the largest cinema in Europe in its day, with seating for an audience of 2,028.  It was purchased by the UCKG HelpCentre, a registered charity, in January 2003, and quickly turned into a community hub.

Recent structural works comprised repairs to part of the foundations that were badly damaged due to the ingress of water from a broken main, which went undetected over many years.  Internally the building’s main areas are being redesigned to better accommodate people and the services the HelpCentre provides to the wider community.

In addition, many period features are to be restored and the building is to be brought up to date with the introduction of energy-saving measures and other extensive improvements.

The HelpCentre will remain open while work is in progress, since it is used by over 1200 local people each week who access a range of services provided free of charge to all regardless of race, gender, age, religion or any other factor.

Paul Hill, UCKG HelpCentre’s head of communications said: “The National is our top priority this year because of the sum needed and the extent of the work.  Our objective is to safeguard the future of a listed building as well as providing a fine HelpCentre for the benefit of the local community and we are hopeful of achieving a good result.

ENDS

Note to editors

UCKG is a Christian church and registered charity that offers a range of practical support activities alongside spiritual support and comfort.  It reached the UK in 1995 and has gone from strength to strength, providing support and spreading the Christian faith. There are 36 UCKG HelpCentre branches in England and Wales.

For further information please contact the UCKG HelpCentre Press Officer via e-mail on press@uckgnew.org or call 020 7686 6033.

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