Saturday, 29 March 2008

Has Winchester SPCK / SSG gone independent?

An announcement in Winchester Diocesan circular for April 08 ('Ministry' - Resource Pack for Clergy & Readers) reads:

Winchester Christian Bookshop - I am pleased to advise that the former SPCK bookshop in Winchester has now become an independent concern operating under the name of 'Winchester Christian Bookshop'. The owner and manager is Mr Christoph Jacob, who worked in SPCK for some fourteen years, including a period in Winchester as Assistant Manager to William Cole. Mr Jacob is keen to operate his shop along the SPCK practices, but also to make some changes to improve on customer service and to reconnect with the community. He would be delighted to welcome clergy and lay people from the Diocese and discuss any specific requirements you may have. His telephone number is 01962 866617

+Michael Winton

Thanks to James for the tip.

Whether the shop is really independent or whether there is some sort of franchise deal going on remains to be seen. If anyone has info let us know.

I also remain confused about the status of certain other 'independent' shops - Leicester for instance. Are they essentially franchises?

In other news - the Blog has posted the SSG video (the one where they are
rescuing Britain's Christian heritage).

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Bristol, Cardiff and Carlisle SSG / SPCK shops to close

Several people have posted in the comment thread below about the closure of the Bristol and Cardiff SSG (former SPCK) bookshops.

This from Richard:

SPCK Bristol has closed for good. I walked past the shop this lunch time, went up to the door to read the sign and saw Mr Phil Brewer peering out at me. He waved heartily, I waved heartily and then I moved on. Rapidly. No point in having a conversation. Nothing really to say. Well, not that would be constructive. The shop was being packed up and that's an end to it all in Bristol.

The keys were left with Wesley Owen over the weekend and when Mr Brewer went to pick them up I gather he mentioned that there was no intention to open up in Bristol again. That may or may not be true.

What a sad end to nearly 200 years of Christian bookselling by SPCK in Bristol.

I am told that the Cardiff shop is to close on Monday. Cardiff was the only SSG shop in Wales.

Update (Thursday 27th 9.30am): The forthcoming closure of the Carlisle shop on Monday the 31st March has also been confirmed.

Update (Monday 31st): News and Star: Cathedral bookshop to close

Friday, 21 March 2008

Stand Firm comments on SPCK / SSG

From the Stand Firm blog:

In more ways than one, it looks like a very good thing that the St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust (SSG) have taken over the bookstores of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

Stand Firm is one of the most read conservative Anglican blogs. I don't know whether Sarah Hey, the writer, has made this pronouncement having only read the Ruth Gledhill feature. I have asked her to clarify her remark.

Visitors from Stand Firm - you can read the whole of the SPCK bookshop saga in the 'Save the SPCK' category of this site.

As an aside I was quite pleased with one comment left on the site about me and my leaning:

"Mr Walker clearly leans to the left. Why should we trust anything he has to say about anything?"

A balanced approach if ever there was one.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Date for SPCK bookshop tribunal set

A date has been set for the case of one of the former SPCK / SSG bookshop employees to be heard before an employment tribunal. The case, Alison Speddings vs Mark Brewer, will be heard at the Sheffield Employment Tribunal on Monday 9th, Tuesday 10th and Wednesday 11th June 2008. Alison will be represented by USDAW, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers.

I can't say a lot more except to say that Alison is entirely happy for this information to be made public. The tribunal is, as I understand it, open to the public.

Media enquiries - please get in touch.


Employment Tribunal - Homepage
Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers: Homepage

Saturday, 15 March 2008

SSG / SPCK in The Times

Feature by Ruth Gledhill in today's paper*: SPCK bookshop staff fear final chapter

*At least, I assume it is. I was told a few days ago that it should be, but it doesn't appear in the list of articles posted on the website. We'll find out in the morning.

Update (Saturday PM): The article is in the actual paper version of the paper - page 83 in the 'Register' section.

Friday, 14 March 2008

SSG / SPCK in the Lincolnshire Echo

Front page on the Lincolnshire echo website: Texan brothers in city store takeover dispute.

Update (18th March): Follow up article - Christian bookshop staff 'sacked via e-mail'

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Lincoln SSG (former SPCK) shop to close this week

This photo (and the one below) were taken in Lincoln this afternoon.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

SSG advertise in the Jobcentre as the 'SPCK bookshop'

SSG are advertising themselves as the 'SPCK bookshop' in the Job centre in Lincoln, despite the fact that (according to the SPCK website) SPCK have forbidden them from using the name, and SSG have stated they will trade under the Saint Stephen the Great name.

Here is the job description in question:

Wage £5.52 - £6 PER HOUR
Work Pattern Days , Weekends
Employer SPCK Bookshop
Pension No details held

Retail experience preferred. Full training will be given. Duties to include serving the public, cash handling, stock replenishment, general housekeeping of the store and any other related tasks as required. This is a temporary position for 6 months but could become permanent for the right candidate.

Please call at the store Wednesday, Thursday or Friday only for further information.

How to apply
You can go and see the employer about this job without telephoning beforehand. Ask for Ian Vollands at SPCK Bookshop, 30A Sincil Street, Lincoln, 30 Sincil Street, Lincoln, LN5 7ET.

To find the job go to 'search for a job' at the bottom of this page. Put in reference number LOS/18198 . I couldn't manage to make a direct link work I'm afraid.

Thanks to UTB for the tip.

New on the SSG website: pictures of the consecration of 'St Stephen the Great'.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

SSG article in Christian Marketplace

There is an article about the SSG (former SPCK) shops in the latest issue of CCP's 'Christian Marketplace' magazine. It is available online here: Christian Marketplace: Bleak month for SSG Staff and customers.

On Saturday I went into the Cambridge SSG shop for a look around. The photograph below shows the posters that were in the window: