2021 Directory

The much awaited LPSUK 2021 Directory is in the final stages of production, and the deadline to be included in the directory has now passed. If you have given explicit consent to be included in the directory you will be able to obtain your copy from your local region once the directories are distributed.

Please contact uksecretary@lpsamaj.co.uk if you have any questions regarding this project.

A telephone Directory is one of the most useful tools of information in communication. In the modern era where most information is stored digitally or online, the importance of printed directories is sometimes overlooked, as are its relevance and benefits. The most obvious benefit of the LPSUK Directory is that it is a useful resource when looking for phone numbers and physical or postal addresses. Whilst most people do have a smartphone in which contact numbers are stored, it is less likely that we always have people’s addresses, which is incredibly important when visiting extended friends and relatives, be it because you ‘happen to be in the area’, are attending a ‘joyous’ event or are wanting to ‘pay your respects. The Directory is a tangible reminder, that we are part of a wider, much extended family unit, which geographically spreads nationally (and internationally), incorporating several generations of people whose ancestors all had foundations in three particular districts of Gujarat, namely, Surat, Navsari and Valsad. The sheer size of the Directory is a significant visual reminder of how much that family has grown and diversified and is a physical celebration of how far and wide LPS has reached. In the midst of the recent CoVid pandemic, there have been heart warming stories of how the dust has been cleared off the Directories and people have reached out for it to re-connect to old friends and distant family members, to support one another through isolation, hardship, bereavement, relationship challenges and to obtain and provide careers advise. Young and old, when the world told us to stay home and stay away from loved ones, we were able to stay connected with those who might not be in our phone list, but were still in our hearts and on our minds. For many of the older generation, who are not tech savvy, the Directory was akin to a lifeline. They thought of the people they came to this country with, the cities and towns in which they lived, worked, and brought their families up in. Nostalgia kicked in. Whilst many people were busy juggling working from home with home schooling, or playing their parts as Key Workers, there were many who were alone, isolated, shielding and physically and mentally vulnerable. In these dark hours, we received countless stories of how people trawled through the pages of the Directory and reconnected with long lost family and friends, hours of conversation on the phone which passed long lonely hours through reminiscing, laughing and crying together and endearing promises to stay in touch. There is clearly a demand for an updated directory with many regions members’ young and elderly asking ‘when will the new version be released?’. Many regions have had an increase in new memberships, which are related to, interest for inclusion in the directory. Story 1 - At the funeral of a widow Baa residing in London, our Trustee Preeti Patel had the opportunity to meet the son of the Baa who had sadly passed away. He himself is based in Hong Kong and his siblings are based in USA. At his mothers funeral, he shared a story of how he struggled to get hold of his mum as her line was always engaged as she kept herself busy with her Diary, which he described as her ‘life line.’ He thanked the London Samaj and LPSUK for providing such a tool and for caring for her whilst she was on her own. Story 2 - Whilst re-organising a book case, the LPSUK VP was asked by her then 4-year-old daughter Ayaana, what the Directory was. Seeing pictures of Gods and deities, she assumed it was a religious book. Her mummy explained in simple terms that it was in fact a phone book, with names and addresses, ages and professions of people in their ‘Samaj’. This lead on to further questions like, ‘what is a Samaj’ and ‘what are ancestors.’ What ensued was a near half an hour conversation of questions and answers. Ayaana was also asked to pick any family member, and shown how to locate them in the Directory. The conversation ended with more questions, like, ‘wow, are all these people in my family, that’s amazing’ and ‘can you take me to where Dada was born in India’ and ‘can I take this book to school to show my friends?’
The 2020 lockdown has highlighted that whilst the world has moved on from printable directories, there is still a vital necessity for one amongst many of the LPS members. It has also been 10 years since the last directory was printed, in which time children have become adults and members in their own right, there have been many changes in family structures, births, deaths and marriages and this is the last UK Directory that will ever be published. Now is a great opportunity to encapsulate all the new and changed information. Lockdown has also seen more people reaching for the telephone. In a world where we are all discovering a ‘new normal’ and where isolation, shielding and limited opportunities for outside gatherings will most likely ensue, this is an opportune time to provide members with a tool for keeping in touch with those who might be out of sight, but not out of mind.
There is no confirmed date. The time is very much subject to all regions performing their data protection obligations. The sooner these obligations are met, the sooner we can print!
The Directory will be Free (one Directory per entry, additional diaries will be at a cost). In recent months there has been great debate as to the validity of LPSUK and the value they provide, if any. LPSUK are themselves mindful that in recent years, despite collecting membership fees from regions, they themselves have provided very little in return, if anything. In light of this, there was a strong argument presented that as a gesture of goodwill, it should be disbursed at no cost. The Directory is a ‘tool’ that the Charity is giving to its members, who over the years have ultimately funded the Charity. For those members who wish to still be listed in the Directory, this ‘tool’ will be provided for free. In the current CoVid climate, individuals, business and charities have shown great support and generosity to their communities, near and far. Many people have lost their jobs and careers, families have lost loved ones and people are experiencing hardships they never imagined. At times like this, it does not sit right morally with LPSUK, to be charging its members for the Directory, especially when for so many people, it has become a life line to stay connected to their extended family and friends.
Currently the regions who have confirmed their inclusion are; Birmingham, Bolton, Coventry, Darlaston, London, Loughborough, Luton, Preston, Walsall, Wellingborough and Yorkshire, representing in excess of 2000 families. Declined to participate; Leicester.
Although no one is safe from criminals, we have taken as many precautions as we can. This includes legal advice; an insurance policy and we are only distributing the directory to the members of the LPS family who will be included. But we also need your help. Once you are given your free copy, please ensure it does not fall into the wrong hands. We are also limiting the data published to less sensitive data. For example we do not hold or publish bank/money details, health details or dates of birth.
Our data protection lawyers have advised us that a directory that is only given to members of a charity, and not intended for marketing or resale, is not a high-risk publication. Also the directory contents alone are not that useful to criminal minded persons, but you should always be vigilant when sharing other details like bank or card details with strangers or clever criminals calling to pretend to be from a bank, for example. Your region should only be sharing your data with LPSUK for publication, if you have consented. If the region is found responsible for accidental publication of your details, then the following will happen. 1. your financial loss as a result of the publication will be taken into account and 2. the maximum fine is limited to 4% of the recent annual income for the region. (£500k fines are a red herring in relation to this directory). Our legal advisers have again reminded us that a consequential financial loss arising as a direct result of the limited scope of the published data is unlikely, and would probably be covered by the LPSUK or region’s own insurance. Here is a Legal Advice Report (pdf) with further information.
Here is a list of just some of the steps being taken/which will be in place by the time the directory is printed: 1. An audit by an experienced compliance officer to ensure only low-risk data is published, where the member has consented 2. Close liaison with participating regions 3. Restrictions on who will be entitled to get a copy of the directory 4. Legal advice from a data protection expert 5. LPSUK public liability insurance where the insurers have been given details of the directory project 6. Limiting the number of people that have access to the data until the directory is published. 7. Once published and distributed, the electronic records will be destroyed 8. We are using a UK based printer who abides by UK regulations relating to data protection.