Face to face fundraising to be regulated in Cheltenham

Published on 21st August 2012

Shoppers on the High Street

Street direct debit charity collections in Cheltenham are to be regulated for the first time, following an agreement between industry regulators and Cheltenham Borough Council.

Under the new arrangement, which comes into place on 17 September, the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA) and the Council have set limits on the numbers, frequency and locations of face to face charity collectors operating in the town.

The agreement will see only one charity operating on either a Tuesday, Thursday or Friday. Fundraisers will be limited to just one section of the High Street with a maximum of four collectors. Collectors will also be bound by a code of conduct covering the methods they use to carry out collections.

Phil Cooper, licensing officer, said: “Face to face fundraisers have until now only had an informal arrangement in Cheltenham. It is hoped that the new agreement will strike a balance between the needs of charities to fundraise and the wishes of the members of public who want to go about their business without being inconvenienced.”

Councillor Peter Jeffries, Cabinet Member for Housing and Safety, welcomed the agreement, adding: “Until now the Council has not had the powers to regulate street direct debit collections. This agreement with the PFRA should help to formalise the process, making it easier for collections to be arranged and for complaints to be dealt with to everybody’s satisfaction.”

Dr Toby Ganley, head of policy at Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA), commented: “We are delighted that we have struck this agreement with Cheltenham Borough Council, which will ensure that charities can continue to fundraise in Cheltenham for good causes. But nobody need feel guilty about not stopping to talk to a fundraiser. If you don’t want to stop, please just say ‘no thanks’ and the fundraiser will not take the conversation any further.”

All face to face fundraising collections covered by the agreement will be arranged beforehand through the PFRA. The PFRA will also deal with complaints and queries from the public relating to these collections. The PFRA can be contacted on 020 7401 8452 or through their website.

For media enquiries, contact: Kelly Carter, communications officer, telephone 01242 264154, email kelly.carter@cheltenham.gov.uk