The Chippenham Business Improvement District (BID) is responding to widely held concern at the number and nature of on-the-street charity fundraisers – known as ‘chuggers’ – which many businesses believe are putting people off coming into the town. Starting in November, BID Town Hosts will monitor any episodes of bad practice, which will then be reported to the Public Fundraising Association (PFRA) – the membership body for charities and agencies carrying out street and doorstep Direct Debit fundraising.
Carolyn Brownell, Manager of Chippenham BID said: “This is a very sensitive subject which needs an appropriate and balanced response. While we don’t object to charity fundraising, if the nature of that fundraising becomes an issue for businesses in the town or their customers, clearly we have an obligation to do what we can to ensure a more responsible and acceptable approach to fundraising by charity representatives.
“The PFRA sets very strict guidelines for street and doorstep Direct Debit fundraising, and it is only right that fundraisers in Chippenham adhere to those guidelines. So we are working closely with Chippenham Town Council and Wiltshire Council to ensure that all street fundraising is monitored to ensure it is carried out in the proper way. The PFRA operates a compliance and penalties regime for its members, and in the case of serial offences charities can receive heavy fines. At the very least our initiative will ensure a more acceptable approach to street fundraising, and in extreme cases could see charities removing representatives who cause a problem.
“The BID is committed to ensuring a pleasant and inviting environment in Chippenham town centre as a core part of our remit to support business growth. We are not in a position where we can stop all street fundraising, and nor should we want to. We believe our approach is the best for businesses, visitors and indeed charities.”
For more information on the Chippenham BID visit: www.chippenhambid.co.uk