Council promise over ‘chuggers’

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

CHUGGERS – or ‘charity muggers’ who ask town centre shoppers for donations – could be restricted by a council if they are troubling patrons.

Chesterfield Borough Council said it will reconsider its approach to the paid face-to-face fundraisers that occupy streets around the market, if shoppers feel they are becoming a problem.

Trevor Durham, interim manager of licensing at Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “We already work with the charities to make sure there is a limit on the number of charity collectors in the town at any one time and to date we haven’t received any complaints from the public about any harassment from the collectors.

“However, we will look into how other councils are handling the issue and if it’s a concern for people in Chesterfield we can adopt a different approach as long as it’s within the various laws that govern the subject.”

This comes after it was revealed that Burnley Council in Lancashire banned the workers for five days each week over fears they were deterring shoppers from the High Street.

Peter Quinn, the chairman of fundraising project, Charity Aid, said chuggers are “treating charity work as a profit-making business.”

He said: “Chugging is exploitative and dishonest. Independent research shows that chuggers keep more than the first £100 they get from a donor - £112 in the case of Cancer Research UK.”

But Ian MacQuillin, head of communications at the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association, said: “I would be very surprised if the decline in footfall in town centres was due to the presence of fundraisers.

“Shops are closing, parking prices are very high. Any decline in footfall is more likely down to that.”

He added: “Street fundraisers get about 200,000 new charity supporters each year, with around 500,000 coming from door-to-door fundraisers.

“Around £45m is contributed to the charities each year through the work of the face to face fundraisers.”

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