Charity workers face crackdown

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Being harassed by charity collectors in Chorley town centre could soon be a thing of the past.

Chorley Council has signed an agreement with the Public Funding Regulatory Association (PFRA) that will help regulate nuisance ‘chuggers’ in the town.

This comes after complaints from shoppers and town centre traders that they and their customers are constantly stopped and pestered to support various charities while going about their business.

Chorley is one of the first councils to sign up to the site management agreement, which sets out guidelines for this activity and means that anyone wanting to fundraise in this way in Chorley has to book through the PFRA.

The protocol states that no more than six representatives from a particular charity should be in the town centre at any one time; they must work in pairs; collecting is restricted to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 9am and 7pm; only one charity will be present on any one day; fundraisers must wear official uniforms and carry identity cards, and must comply with requests made by the council.

The council can also exclude fundraisers on particular days, for example when a major event is taking place. Coun Alan Cullens, who has responsibility for Chorley town centre, said: “Chuggers – as they are known – can be a nuisance, so this is great news for people who use the town centre as it means they will have a more enjoyable experience without being hassled.

“It’s not about stopping fundraising altogether; it’s about striking a balance between this activity and maintaining a welcoming environment for town centre visitors.

“The agreement limits the number of collectors, restricts where they can go and when and controls how they behave. It also means we will be able to give priority to local charities, which is difficult to do at the moment as they need a special licence to collect.”

The term ‘chuggers’ is a combination of the words ‘charity’ and ‘muggers’. Chorley Traders Alliance asked Chorley Council in a bid to introduce new guidelines after complaints from the public.

Malcolm Allen, chair of the Traders Alliance, said: “These street fundraisers have been getting out of control in the numbers that are stationed close to shop doors and how many are approaching shoppers at one time.”