September 26th, 2016

Town centre chuggers face fresh crackdown

Town centre chuggers face fresh crackdown Town centre chuggers face fresh crackdown
Updated: 10:14 am, May 07, 2015

RESTRICTIONS are to be placed on ‘chuggers’ raising money in Redditch Town Centre after complaints from fed-up shoppers and market traders.

Redditch Borough Council has struck a deal with the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA) which will clampdown on the actions of face-to-face fundraisers – also commonly referred to as charity muggers or chuggers – operating on Church Green, Market Place and Alcester Street asking people to sign-up to making regular donations to various good causes.

The agreement is voluntary, as no legislation exists to regulate face to face street fundraising, and will come into force on December 8.

It will see a maximum of three fundraisers allowed in the town centre on any one day and for no more than three days in a row.

They will only be allowed to stand near to the corner of Market Place and Evesham Street by the Kingfisher Shopping Centre, the area around the needles artwork and the junction of Peakman Street and Church Green East.

They must also stand at least three metres apart and one metre from shop fronts to allow people to pass if they are not interested in donating.

The deal will be reviewed after six months and then once every year. If fundraisers break the agreement they can be penalised by the PFRA.

The issue was first raised by Redditch Town Centre Partnership (TCP) over two years ago after complaints from fed-up shoppers who felt they were ‘running a gauntlet’ every time they went out into the street. Some of the tactics complained about included fundraisers obstructing people as they walked past and even following them down the street.

A review by councillors of Redditch Market carried out last year, also revealed traders felt fundraisers were deterring people from accessing the market area.

Consideration was given to the introduction of the creation of a by-law to block them from operating in the town centre, but it was felt it would unfairly impact on the ability of charities to raise funds.

Lyndsey Berry, town centre co-ordinator, said the council and TCP believed the agreement would strike a balance between protecting shoppers and helping charities raise vital money for good causes.

A spokesman for the PFRA welcomed the move.

“Across the country, these agreements have led to a significant reduction in complaints about street fundraisers.”