Page 1, 27th June 1975

27th June 1975
Page 1
Page 1, 27th June 1975 — Complaints about FPA 'Grapevine'

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Locations: Islington, Camden, London


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Complaints about FPA 'Grapevine'

THE BRITISH Council of Churches Community and Race Relations Unit will study closely any further appeal for funds from Grapevine, sponsored by the Family Planning Association.

The Rev Sebastian Charles, an Anglican who is director of the unit, said help towards funding a Grapevine worker among the black community last year had caused "one or two letters complaining about this organisation."

Grapevine, operating mainly in the London boroughs of Islington and Camden, describes itself as "a group of young people who are here to talk about birth control, sex and relationships, pregnancy, VD and population." It seeks to make sex education available to young people who do not seek advice from "establishment" organisations on their own initiative.

Grapevine workers make contacts in coffee bars and discotheques, offering advice on sexual problems and handing out leaflets which, for example, list under the heading "For an Unwanted Pregnancy" the Pregnancy Advisory Service and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.

Mr Charles said the decision to help a Grapevine worker was made before his own appointment. The grant was made in May, 1974, and had not been renewed.

Mr Charles said: "If Grapevine made an approach to us again, we would take into account objections made, particularly by members of the Catholic Church. We would take account of any effect it might have on ecumenical relations, as we would not like relations to be damaged."

The BCC unit made more than 200 grants a year to organisations without necessarily agreeing with all the policies of all the organisations, he said.

Fr Harold Winstone, of Manor House. Dean of Islington Deanery. said a Christian alternative to Grapevine was being planned from Oct obe r. It needed young Christians properly trained in youth counselling, living among young people, of whom there were many in the area, living in flats and bed-sitters.

They would need a proper spiritual background and support. as Grapevine possessed both money and "dedicated personnel," Fr Winstone said.

Only six per cent of Catholic priests in West Germany think priests should always wear clerical dress. But 45 per cent believe that priests should normally be recognisable in some way from their attire.

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