Tighter restrictions brought in to manage ‘chuggers’
The number of charity street fundraisers – often known as chuggers – allowed to operate in Darlington town centre is to be reduced.
Acting on feedback from shoppers, stronger restrictions on the number of fundraisers, and the days and locations they can work, will come into force from Tuesday 24 April.
Under the new rules street fundraisers will only be allowed to work in the town centre on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
They will also be restricted to two specific locations – Blackwellgate and Northgate, between Crown Street and the Queen Street shopping centre entrance – and may only have two fundraisers at each site.
Councillor Chris McEwan, Cabinet Member for Economy, said: “Although no-one has a problem with charity collectors in principle, the approach of some street fundraisers in Darlington was felt to go beyond what was reasonable.
“People have described feeling that they had to run a gauntlet of these ‘chuggers’ and being made to feel very uncomfortable or annoyed at being approached repeatedly.
“We want everyone who comes to the town centre to enjoy their visit and we hope that restricting the activities of these third-party fundraisers will go some way towards that.”
The Council has worked with the Institute of Fundraising Compliance to put a site management agreement in place.
Fundraising companies must sign up to the Institute’s code of practice before they are given a slot to work in Darlington. Penalties can be imposed by the Institute on the fundraising companies if they operate outside of the agreement.
A condition of operating in Darlington is that the fundraisers must allow people who do not wish to engage with them adequate space to walk by freely. The fundraisers must also not block shop frontages in any way.
Commercial sales agents, such as for gas and electricity, are not permitted to operate in public spaces in Darlington.
If a member of the public is approached by a commercial sales agent, or feels that a charity fundraiser is acting inappropriately or outside the rules, they can report the incident to [email protected]