What happened at UCB, behind the scenes…
It was just over a week before the UK-wide lockdown and at 3.20pm, the phone rang with alarming news. A recent visitor to the UCB Broadcast Centre, who’d been in close contact with many of the team, had tested positive for Coronavirus. We were concerned to hear how unwell our visitor was, but we also knew we needed to act quickly to make sure our team was able to self-isolate.
Within a few hours, an action team was formed, essential equipment was packed up, computers were loaded into car boots and in just under 24 hours (and in line with Government guidelines), everyone who was directly affected was mobilised to work from home, in self isolation.
Just over a week later, the Government announced a UK-wide lockdown. Not knowing how long this situation could last for, this presented lots of big challenges for UCB. How do you keep 2 national Christian radio stations running (uninterrupted), produce a daily devotional which goes to hundreds of thousands of people, maintain websites, Social Media, a call centre, a Prayerline service and so much more, while working from home offices?
It was a big challenge, but we stopped, we prayed, we committed it to God, and we knew that with His help, it was possible!
What happened next…?
The first step was to find a company who could do a professional deep clean of the Broadcast Centre, during which time a leak was also discovered! UCB’s Chief Executive David L’Herroux and his wife (who were temporarily living on site), teamed up with our Head of Facilities and Hospitality, Roy, to tackle the damage. Thankfully, we were able to get the problem fixed (and fast).
We wrote to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, with a short, encouraging message from the book of Nehemiah. We assured him that we would be praying for him and the Government during this difficult time of crisis. We also sent him a Bible.
Thanks to incredible support from our IT team, by now many of our teams were able to work from home and in fact, some of our supporters were delighted to ring and discover they could still talk to a ‘real person’.
Our PR & Marketing team gathered together (on a video call) and quickly starting looking at ways to get this message of hope out to all our supporters. The idea of a new campaign called ‘Get into God’s Word’ came to life over a takeaway meal around a dining room table. Very quickly, a webpage and social media campaign was created, and the response was amazing!
Our staff meetings moved to video conferencing. There’s nothing quite like seeing over 80 colleagues on a screen, all praying and worshipping God together!
The UCB Radio presenters continued to broadcast, getting creative with content ideas that would help their listeners who were in self-isolation. We launched a weekday ‘Hour of Prayer’ on UCB 1, and for those in need of extra exercise, we introduced the 'Morning Workout' on radio, with Steve Best.
The Prayerline team faced a few logistical challenges too. Prayerline is staffed by many wonderful volunteers all across the UK who meet in churches to answer the calls. With many church buildings now closed, we needed to think ‘on our feet’ as to how to keep Prayerline running. It led to a temporary closure, but within a week, Prayerline was back open, being run in a brand new way, which meant that many people across the UK could access this vital support system.
UCB Prayerline received an unprecedented amount of calls, from many people looking for hope and reassurance. What a blessing to be able to pray with so many people during this time.
News was filtering in from other European countries that printers might have to cease trading. We started thinking ahead about what this could mean for UCB if the same happened in the UK. We decided to print the Aug/Sept/Oct edition of the UCB Word For Today much earlier than we would do normally. This meant we had just a few days to create, edit and produce a brand new edition, when normally the process could take up to 8 weeks. We wanted to ensure that whatever happened, our readers would still be able to connect daily with God’s Word.
We started to see a big increase in Radio listeners who were tuning in to UCB Radio online and with the UCB Player app. This means that many people who might be struggling with fear or loneliness can create a positive atmosphere by listening to great Christian radio right at home.
We began livestreaming church services on the UCB Facebook page and have been reaching a weekly average of 7,000 people, helping to bring church direct to your home!
Be part of ‘Hope For Every Home’!
This highly unusual time of worldwide crisis, also offers an amazing opportunity for more people to hear the Gospel, get deeper into God’s Word, and develop a personal relationship with Jesus. This is undoubtedly UCB’s moment to point people to the Word of God through Christian radio, UCB devotionals, Social Media and more in order to help them engage with the treasures and truths found in God’s Word.
We see God having a big impact on our nation and the world: we see fear being lifted, infected people being healed and people finding peace and comfort, even in their time of grief. We see God restoring and reshaping individuals, families, communities and nations.
By praying for UCB, sharing with others how they too can connect with UCB for positive news 24/7, and giving a gift towards this work, you’ll be such a big part of sharing God’s Word with the entire nation. Together, we will see a stronger, faith-filled nation by bringing ‘Hope For Every Home’.