Ipswich: Charities welcome stricter rules on charity street collectors

CHARITIES in Ipswich have welcomed stricter new rules on street fundraisers – dubbed ‘chuggers’.

The tougher stance has been on trial nationally for the past year but was made permanent on Monday by the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA).

The rules, which carry fines for charities if continually broken, prohibit collectors from:

Following a person for more than three steps

Standing within three metres of a shop doorway, cash point, pedestrian crossing or station entrance

Approaching members of the public who are working

Signing people up to Direct Debit arrangements when they are unable to make an informed decision due to illness, disability, or drugs.

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The new approach will be policed by a PFRA compliance team and mystery shoppers. In the past four years there have been only a handful of complaints to Ipswich Borough Council, a spokeswoman said.

“In those instances, people haven’t felt comfortable about how staff have approached them,” she added.

Charities such as East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, The British Heart Foundation, and St Elizabeth Hospice, say their fundraising activities are not classed as street collection, but believe the tougher rules will instil more public confidence in good causes.

A St Elizabeth Hospice spokesman said: “We hope it will improve the public perception of face-to-face fundraising and raise professional standards within the charity sector.”

Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, added: “While we all want to be charitable, I don’t think you need lots and lots of people collecting in the town centre. It becomes very confusing and incredibly irritating. There are no limits to how many people can stand and collect on a given day.”

What do you think of street collectors? E-mail: starnews@archant.co.uk