Poll: Call for charities to stop sending chuggers to Bury St Edmunds

Shoppers and businesses in Bury St Edmunds have been complaining about chuggers

Shoppers and businesses in Bury St Edmunds have been complaining about chuggers - Credit: Archant

A business leader has urged charities to stop sending “chuggers” on to the streets of a popular market town as he claims they are having a “detrimental” effect on trade and the public.

In Bury St Edmunds chugging – a type of street collection which is not covered by legislation – is allowed twice a week due to an informal arrangement with the borough council.

But some people feel this method of charity collection, which involves getting people to sign up to a direct debit or standing order, should be banned.

Mark Cordell, chief executive of Bid4Bury, said he was contacted by a businessman who said chuggers outside his town centre shop were causing potential customers to rush by.

And the debate has been continuing on Twitter, where many have said they feel uncomfortable being stopped in the street to hand over their bank details by often over-insistent chuggers.

Mr Cordell said: “I’m aware that nationally there’s a real concern about using chuggers to approach people in town centres to collect money for charity and Birmingham City Council and the local businesses are actually introducing a by-law because it’s become such a problem there.

“Also we have a culture in this country where we give to charity because of free choice not because we are put under pressure.”

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He added: “Bid4Bury are very pro charity, but I think this way of collecting contributes nothing to the ambience in Bury St Edmunds, and it’s actually having a detrimental effect, and I urge all charities to not collect by this way in the town.”

Darren Haywood, manager of a town centre business, also thought it would be good to “follow the lead of Birmingham”.

“We need to facilitate charities collecting in a way that works for the town and them,” he said.

A spokesman for the Institute of Fundraising, which has a code of practice, said chugging was a good source of income for charities at a time when funding was being squeezed, but added: “No-one should be feeling harassed when they do it. It should be done in the right way and there are codes of advice anybody who is fundraising on the street should follow.”

A spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council said to minimise the impact chugging could have on traders and other charity collections their presence in Bury was limited to a maximum of six people during business hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays and they had to notify the licensing service in advance.

If anyone finds chuggers a nuisance they can contact the licensing service on 01284 757289.

“We do have a good relationship with the four main organisations who supply chuggers,” the spokeswoman added.