Scientology Sunderland’s Ideal Org fundraiser was a major flop

The Church of Scientology’s fundraising event at Sunderland Museum last weekend was a “catastrophic failure” with only 8 parishioners showing up for the occasion, Scientology Business can report.

The event, which had been promoted as “Sunderland’s Ideal Renaissance” and featured a “special message” from US-based executive Carol Nolan, was overshadowed by protestors who had gathered outside the venue and live streamed to hundreds of viewers as only a handful of attendees arrived at the venue.

Sea Org staff were spotted arriving from around 4.30pm carrying boxes of materials, AV equipment and large boards with mockups of the new Ideal Org. The boards were branded “Church of Scientology Newcastle”, despite the property being in Gateshead – a different town altogether.

Police had also been called and visited the area on four different occasions, despite so few people (and only three protestors) showing up. Most of the attendees were elderly – one of whom we learned was called ‘Brian’ – had mobility issues and raises concerns about the extent of elder abuse in Scientology. When told to “wave to the SPs” by the staff member welcoming parishioners at the venue, he dutifully complied.

When organisers realised one of the rooms they had hired was visible from the footpath outside, they rushed to move their display of snacks to another room away from the public eye.

Scientologists were spotted inside the venue panicking as protestors showed up at the window

Former Scientologist Danielle Chamberlin, who joined protestors outside the Museum tells us “The room had been hired out to hold an event to try to raise more funds towards the refurbishment of the derelict building in Gateshead bought by the Scientologists back in 2007.  They are under pressure to get the building revamped as it has lain empty and derelict ever since they bought it, and is in danger of dilapidation, defacement etc.”

“It felt very cathartic for me to be speaking out my truth in this way. The lady who seemed to be in-charge was initially very well mannered, exchanging pleasantries with us until we held up a huge banner calling Scientology out and saying the abuse has to stop.  At that point she could be seen talking to someone on the phone (probably OSA) and taking our photographs, asking us who we were.  At this point we had been joined in our protest by a kind passer-by who helped me hold up the sign so Alex could walk around with his camera.  She asked who we were, and we were quite happy to tell her, and then she asked our newly acquired acquaintance “and who are you”?  He didn’t furnish her with his name.”

“I have no idea why the Scientologists thought we were such a threat, but they called the Police out three times. However, the Police were obviously not concerned one bit as they didn’t approach us once.” 

“The bonus for me, apart from feeling good about speaking out, was that a number of young teenagers had walked past us, and curious to know what we were doing and why, started asking questions which we were all too happy to respond to, warning them of the perils of getting caught up in a cult.”

“So, despite there only being three of us and a lovely dog called Zena in the protest, we had a good afternoon and certainly got the message across.”

Scientology promotional material posted on social media ahead of the event suggested Carol Nolan, who works at the International Landlord’s Office and heads up Ideal Org fundraising, would make an appearance however she was not seen entering the venue.

Katherine Olson, who previously worked with her at Scientology’s Los Angeles complex known as the PAC base, tells us “What I know about Carol Nolan is that she’s been doing ideal org fundraising for quite some years, at least 15-20. There is no doubt she has been involved in many shady financial deals and in helping to bankrupt many public scientologists by getting them to donate way beyond their means. This is just the way of ideal org fundraising. It’s also quite obvious that she is very good at it because she’s lasted so long.”

As for what her ‘special message’ might be, she explains “I think the “message” is just a gimmick to get more people to come. Probably something like, “COB believes you guys can do it!” Or something like that.”

Sunderland City Council, which operates the Museum, are under fire for hosting the event. Scientology Business understands several local residents have lodged complaints, citing Scientology’s history of fraud in Europe. In a statement, a spokesperson said “In common with many organisations, the City Council hires out rooms in its venues to a wide range of groups and organisations throughout the year.”

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Alexander Barnes-Ross

Scientology Business provides analysis and commentary on the Church of Scientology's corporate structure, business operations and functions in the United Kingdom and Europe. The website looks at Scientology's shell companies, financial records and maps the web of international corporate entities responsible for their UK and European activities.

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