New rules on how face-to-face fundraisers – otherwise known as ‘chuggers’ – operate in Harrow are being introduced to improve people’s town centre experience.
The new agreement limits the number of charities, as well as the days and hours that fundraisers can operate.
Harrow Council is introducing the measures in partnership with the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA), following concerns from residents and businesses about the amount of ‘chuggers’ in operation and overzealous tactics of some fundraisers.
The new rules mean that:
Only one charity can operate per day
Fundraisers will only be able to work three days a week, between 9am and 7pm
A maximum of four fundraisers can work at a time, spread out along the road.
The agreement also stops fundraisers from using any “unscrupulous” tactics – such as following shoppers when they decline to stop.
Harrow Council Leader Cllr Thaya Idaikkadar said:
“We want to make Harrow’s town centres attractive to shoppers to support our residents and our businesses.
“While the majority of fundraisers are polite and courteous, the Council does get complaints because people feel there are simply too many, or they are overzealous. Some of our businesses are worried that this could lead to shoppers going elsewhere.
“This agreement recognises the need of charities to raise money in this way, but also their responsibility not to spoil people’s enjoyment of our vibrant town centre.”
The agreement comes into force on September 16. Elsewhere in the country, councils with the agreement already in place have reported that it is working well.
The PFRA regulates street and doorstep face-to-face fundraising throughout Great Britain. PFRA estimates that donors who give to charity through street fundraising contribute at least £45 million a year to their chosen causes.
PFRA’s head of policy Dr Toby Ganley said:
“We are delighted to welcome Harrow into the fold of London Boroughs working with us to co-regulate street fundraising.
“Agreements such as this ensure that charities will be able to, with the consent of local people, continue to use this type of fundraising to find new donors to support their causes.
“Many of our council partners report that standards improve and complaints fall – sometimes quite dramatically – when we put a voluntary agreement in place, and we are confident that Harrow will see similar benefits.”