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"Chuggers" face fines for flouting fundraising rules

Published Friday, 24 May 2013

Enfield Council has announced strict new rules designed to limit the number of charity fund raisers and regulate their behaviour, with repeat offenders facing fines of up to £200.

Enfield Council and the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA) have signed an agreement which limits the number of face-to-face fund raisers (sometimes known as chuggers) which can operate in the whole of the borough to five, sets out the times during which they can operate, the behaviour expected of them and the area where they can operate.

The decision comes after a survey by the Local Government Association revealed most councils thought the presence of face-to-face fundraisers discouraged people from visiting shopping centres. Face-to-face fundraisers generally wear brightly coloured tabards and raise money by asking people to regularly donate money to charity by setting up a direct debit agreement.

The agreement, and the limit on face-to-face fund raisers, does not cover fund raising conducted by volunteers positioned in fixed points with collection tins such as the Royal British Legion collections for Remembrance Day.

Enfield Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Chris Bond, said: "We want to strike a balance between helping charities raise vital money for good causes while protecting shoppers from being constantly approached by chuggers asking them for money.

"The rules we have agreed limit the number of chuggers in our borough, restrict them to a particular location in town and make sure there is a reasonable space between them, so shoppers can give them a wide berth if they so desire.

"We need to do everything we can while the economy is in the doldrums to help our town centres and limiting an activity which can, and we believe does, discourage people from visiting our shops is a sensible and proportionate thing to do."

Charities which breach the agreement, or which conduct face-to-face fundraising without consulting Enfield Council will be reported to the PFRA and potentially fined between £20 and £200 depending on the severity of the rule breaking. 

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