Mayor’s anger over ‘charity muggers’

08:54 18 August 2014

Chugger

Chugger

Archant

‘Intimidating’ charity fundraisers, urging residents to part with their bank details, should be licensed or leave town, says the mayor.

Charity street collectors – sometimes known as ‘charity muggers (chuggers)’ - are a regular feature of the Magnolia Centre.

And many shoppers have been seen avoiding the town centre instead of ‘running the gauntlet’, writes David Beasley.

But unlike ‘passive’ charity bucket collections, they do not need an East Devon District Council licence - so there is no way to control how many and where they are.

Now, following concerns by the public to the police and a report by Charity Aid, which says it is the most ‘damaging’ form of fundraising, Mayor Bill Nash is calling for them to be locally regulated.

He said: “I’m very protective of Exmouth’s citizens. They are a very generous lot, always giving to charity. I support collections using sealed buckets. What I don’t support are charities that don’t need a licence.

“On the street, it can be quite intimidating. Before you know it, you have signed up to a bank mandate.”

Licences, he said, would mean EDDC could say when and where the collectors operate. “It should apply to all charity collections,” said Mr Nash. “We must be able to exercise some kind of control.”

Ian MacQueen, the chairman of Exmouth’s Chamber of Trade, said people could be put off shopping.

“I am all for charities fundraising,” he said. “But their method is more like a business marketing exercise, and when people are being pestered, that is a different matter.

“There is a difference between charity supporters standing passively with a bucket and people being accosted on the street.”

The ‘chuggers’ code of conduct, issued by the Charity Commission, says they should not ‘pressurise or harass’ or use ‘manipulative techniques’.

Some councils, like Runnymede and Hartlepool, have banned them. Others, like Winchester, limit them to a day a month, while Bedford and East Cambridgeshire issue permits.

Peter Quinn, chairman of Charity Aid, said that 90 per cent of people were against the practice. Many charities hired firms to fundraise for them, taking over £100million a year from donations.

He said: “They’ve brought words like intimidation and hard sell into what used to be a noble calling. Volunteer groups are unanimous in opposing it.”

An EDDC spokesman said, because the collectors did not need a licence, the council had no direct influence over their activities.

He added: “We do ask charities to inform us when they are planning to operate in a town or shopping centre so we can ensure that only one charity operates at a time and that their activities do not clash with licensed flag days.”

Any complaints, he said, should be directed to the charity, the Charity Commission or the Public Fundraising Regulatory Authority (PFRA).

● What do you think? Should charity collections like this be banned or does the practice provide a much-needed service? Email exmouth.letters@archant.co.uk

1 comment

  • If you are accosted just say no thank you in a frim and polit manner

    Report this comment

    Nightwalker

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Other News Stories

42 minutes ago
A grass verge on Marine Way. Ref exe 9844-27-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

‘Ridiculous’ overgrown grass in Exmouth could be cut, with town hall chiefs considering stepping in to improve the appearance of the town.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:30
Rows of shopping trolleys

An Aldi supermarket is set to be built on the outskirts of Topsham after city council planners gave it the green light.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:26
car driving fast into forest.

Fast-driving troublemakers in Exmouth can now be reported to the police more easily, as the authorities aim to crack down on the town’s ‘boy racers’.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:23
Staff at the Exmouth branch of Nat West bank have been busy raising funds for nine month old Leo Burton. Ref exe 1748-25-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

The parents of a baby battling a rare form of cancer have been ‘overwhelmed’ by the support of the community.

Read more
Wed, 11:12
Brian Edwards

An Exmouth man has vowed to raise £42,000 for a Nepalese community which saved his life.

Read more
Wed, 06:30

People in Exmouth are being urged to help their elderly neighbours register their electrical appliances.

Read more
Tue, 18:30
Wood(bury) Stock 2015. Doctors Orders. Photo: Neil Ewins.

A successful blues, roots and folk music festival took place recently at Woodbury’s Malsters Arms.

Read more
Tue, 16:00

A fire crew from Exmouth was called out on Tuesday to put out a car on fire in Exeter Road.

Read more
Tue, 12:30

Plans for a major care home and housing development in Budleigh Salterton have been opposed again by town planners.

Read more
Tue, 06:30
The new graffiti wall in Phear Park has started to be decorated . Ref exe 0456-25-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

A new graffiti wall in Phear Park has come under fire from residents since it was erected earlier this month.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 15°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition today E-edition



Exmouth's trusted business finder