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Peter Davies, Independent

Peter Davies, Independent

A new report has condemned pushy street charity collectors in Doncaster and prompted fresh calls for the practice to be banned.

Charity Aid said ‘charity muggers’ or ‘chuggers’ - many of which operate outside the Frenchgate Centre - use ‘aggressive’ tactics to get shoppers to donate to good causes.

The report also highlighted that some of the donations never even reach charities as it instead goes to private firms contracted by good causes to provide street collectors.

Former Doncaster mayor Peter Davies introduced measures to regulate the issue while in power and has now called on Doncaster Council to go one step further and ban it.

He said: “I have no problem with charities who set up stall and it is your choice to donate, but middle men using aggressive tactics is a disgrace.”

Nurse Katie Smith, 36, of Tickhill, said: “It should be left to your own discretion. If you want to donate then you can contact them.”

A representative seeking donations for the National Deaf Children’s Society told the Free Press on Tuesday that “Everything goes to the charity.” Nobody from the charity was available to comment further.

As part of its report, Charity Aid said many councils it spoke to across UK regard chugging as ‘aggressive harassment’.

The organisation highlighted that 750,000 people a year are donating through chuggers. But in some cases the first £100 given goes to the private firm providing collectors on behalf of the charity.

Chairman Peter Quinn said: “They’ve brought words like intimidation and hard sell into what used to be a noble calling.”

In 2012 Doncaster Council signed a ‘site management agreement’ with the Public Fundraising Regulatory Authority (PFRA), which states there can only be a maximum of six fundraisers along St Sepulchre Gate and High Street four days a week.

Dave Wilkinson, the council’s assistant director of trading and support services, said the issue was “under control” as charities had agreed to abide by a “strict code of conduct.” The PFRA said charities must adhere to “appropriate and acceptable” methods of fundraising.

 

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