Rebecca Kandare tragedy: Hundreds of faith-based groups operating in Wolverhampton, report finds

Over 220 faith-based groups are operating in Wolverhampton in the aftermath of the death of eight month old Rebecca Kandare, it emerged today.

Rebecca Kandare tragedy: Hundreds of faith-based groups operating in Wolverhampton, report finds

And that may not include all those run from a person's home such as the church to which her parents belonged while allowing her to starve and die.

Wolverhampton's Safeguarding Children Board - to whom the serious case review into the tragedy reported - started drawing up the list over six months ago and has still not finished the task.

It currently stands at 222, about 20 of which are offshoots of worshipping communities that have become separate organisations in their own right.

The remainder include 171 of Christian denomination, both mainstream and independent, based in churches, community centres, houses and other premises. Also on the list are 16 mosques - covering Sunni, Shia and Ahmadiyya traditions - the same number of Sikh Gurdwaras, four Hindu temples, three Buddhist temples, eight Mormon, Jehovah's Witness and Spiritualist churches, three multi faith worshipping communities and a pagan Druids Forum.

Most meet in purpose built buildings, a few are house churches and others congregate in rented accommodation or rooms hired each week in venues such as schools, community centres and in premises on industrial estates.

The Board will contact all those they know of in the near future but its Vice Chairman Stephen Dodd stressed: "We still have more work to do in terms of groups that hire rooms in community centres and schools and would like anyone from such groups or who hires out rooms to them to get in touch."

Board chairman Alan Coe explained: "Each has their own particular beliefs and values and we need to know more about what they do, how they support the most vulnerable in their organisations, be they children or adults."

Rebecca's 29-year-old father Brian Kandare was a pastor at a branch of the Africa-based Gospel of God Apostolic Church that discouraged medical treatment, rigidly followed its moral code and worshipped at a converted garage in the back garden of a house in Nine Elms Lane, Park Village, Wolverhampton.

His wife Precious, aged 37 - a partially trained nurse - ignored signs of neglect of the child who had last seen a health worker 22 days after birth.

The couple, who lived in South Avenue, Wednesfield, allowed Rebecca to die from severe malnutrition, bronchopneumonia and rickets in January 2014. The father was jailed for nine and a half years while the mother received an eight year sentence after both admitted manslaughter in November.

Mr Coe said: "This organisation, like any other church, professes to support children and I have no doubt that they do. However the Kandare's interpretation of its teachings led them to rely on faith healing. That cost Rebecca her life.

"We realised there was a gap in our knowledge, wanted to reduce the likelihood of a case such as this happening again and so started logging faith-based groups. I am surprised by the number but if there is a church we have never heard of we will try to discover what their belief's are."

A serious case review into the death of Rebecca Kandare identified a string of failings among health workers and made recommendations that have been implemented.

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