When shops and small business units in Loughborough junction are vacated they have often been occupied by religious groups. Whether you think this is a good use of space that could be used for small business and local jobs depends on your viewpoint, however these groups have a big impact on Loughborough junction including how it
The churches bring large numbers of people to the area, particularly on a Sunday. Where there are large numbers of people advertisers see “target audiences” with the result that that advertising hoardings around the station and under the bridges often carry posters for events and groups aimed at the faithful.
Recently two such advertisements caught my eye as I thought the messages they contained were misleading. One showed a woman and her daughter with the line “my daughter was blind and now she can see” the other showed an image of a man springing out of his wheelchair. Soap powder manufacturers are not allowed make exaggerated claims in adverts and the same rules apply to religious groups.
I took photographs of the two posters and logged onto the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) website to see how to make a complaint. It was a surprisingly easy process that allowed me to fill in an on-line form and upload the images of the posters. I’ve had letters back from the ASA about both advertisements that shows they are being investigated. One included a written assurance from the advertisers that they would not use that advert again and a written assurance that in future they will follow the ASA guidelines on religion and spiritual healing which is that religious organisations may make claims about healing only if it is clear that they are referring to spiritual, not physical healing.
Whether you see the influx of places of worship as a smorgasboard of religious diversity or a descent into a supermarket of superstition, there is a larger debate to be had about the use of former shops and light industrial units as places of worship and what they can contribute to the regeneration of the area. Meanwhile, if you see a misleading advert, please report it to the ASA.