Town centre chuggers face new rulings

ndet 96086 Charity Canvassers in Town Centre
ndet 96086 Charity Canvassers in Town Centre

CHESTERFIELD town centre charity canvassers are facing restrictions as part of a crackdown to prevent shoppers from being pestered.

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association is enforcing rules this week with £1,000 fines for offenders who follow shoppers for more than three steps, stand within three metres of shops, crossings, cashpoints, train and bus entrances or approach those on duty.

Chesterfield Borough Council has stated it would be willing to reconsider its approach to paid, charity canvassers - who have been branded as charity street muggers or chuggers - but the authority stressed it had not received any complaints.

Shopper Karen Gaynor, 40, of Wingerworth, said: “Some have been a bit overpowering so I just pretend to be on my mobile phone as I walk past them. Some come after you and try a bit of banter and it can be patronising. I think restrictions are good and these might encourage better behaviour but I don’t know how these rules will be enforced.”

Many said they were supportive of charities and realise they have to raise awareness but some stressed they preferred to choose which causes they support as opposed to being approached. Shopper Ted lord , 80, of Ashgate, Chesterfield, said: “I’ve no experience of street charity collectors being rude and they should be allowed to continue as long as they are polite.”

The PFRA stated complaints will lead to penalty points which can lead to a £1,000 fine. Rules have been welcomed by the Institute for Fundraising. The council said it has a number of registered charities licensed to fundraise in the town and aims to work with them to ensure restrictions are well managed.