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Richard Cunningham at Forum 2022 (Photo Credit: UCCF)
Richard Cunningham at Forum 2022 (Photo Credit: UCCF)
UK News

UCCF national director steps down

by Tola Mbakwe

The national director of the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF), Richard Cunningham has resigned after 20 years at the organisation.

In a statement released on Tuesday by UCCF, which supports Christian Unions (CUs) on campuses in the UK, Cunningham said it was an “immense privilege” to lead the charity.

“…I am so grateful to staff and supporters without whom our CUs would not be adequately resourced,” Cunningham said.

“The witness of university CUs - students reaching students for Christ - is as vital today as it has ever been and deserves wide support from across the Church”.

The announcement of Cunningham stepping down comes after recent controversy at UCCF, in which the board of trustees suspended Cunningham and field director Tim Rudge in December 2022, pending an investigation.

In October 2023, the investigation undertaken by an employment barrister concluded that UCCF had badly handled the termination of some staff contracts and been potentially unlawful at times.

The trustees and directors apologised “to those employees whose experiences fell short of what they were entitled to expect from UCCF, and for the hurt caused”.  They also accepted the investigator’s recommendations. Both Cunningham and Rudge were later reinstated.

In Tuesday’s statement, Cunningham admitted the past 15 months have been difficult.

“I cannot pretend that this year has not put a huge strain on me and my family and, after prayerful reflection, I am making this my last academic year at UCCF. Announcing my departure this early gives the Trustees sufficient time to identify and appoint a new CEO to be in place before August. Please join me in praying for the Trustees as they begin this


UCCF said during Cunningham’s two-decade tenure at the organisation, Christian Unions around the country have seen commendable growth.

It said: “Since 2004, when Richard was appointed, the evangelistic movement of students has seen remarkable growth, supported by a field staff that has increased 42 per cent, with now over 100 CU annual events weeks on campuses, carol services attracting tens of thousands of not yet Christians, and over 20,000”.

UCCF also highlighted Cunningham’s accomplishment of leading the fundraising efforts to purchase Blue Boar House in Oxford City Centre, which is the charity’s headquarters.

Additionally, the organisation praised his work in discipleship ministry, leading to “hundreds of students” knowing how to evangelise effectively.

Simon Day, chair of the UCCF trustees added: “The Trustees, staff and CUs thank God for blessing the work amongst students through Richard and under his leadership. His vision and commitment to students has led to a wealth of new initiatives and resources in the past two decades. We are profoundly grateful to Richard for all that he has given, and we wish him well in whatever God calls him to next”.

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