Chugger crews told to cut intimidating tactics in St Helens after complaints

St Helens Star: Town centre shoppers like these often have to run the gauntlet of Chuggers Town centre shoppers like these often have to run the gauntlet of Chuggers

SWARMS of town centre Chuggers are about to have their confrontational tactics reined in.

Busy shoppers who have to run the gauntlet of the charity fundraisers on a daily basis will welcome the strict new rules following a rise in complaints about the intimidating tactics used by some groups operating in St Helens.

A new agreement, which comes into force on Monday, December 10, will see Chugger numbers limited to a maximum of four collectors operating no more than three days a week.

St Helens Council approved the agreement with the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA) last month as part of a wider strategy to improve the town centre experience for shoppers and visitors.

Reports - from police, local councillors and town centre businesses - reveal an increase in the number of complaints from members of the public about the issue.

Chugging is not subject to the same restrictions as traditional charity fundraising - as it involves people signing up to direct debit payments rather than giving cash.

 

Many town centre businesses have been unhappy about the ‘blockading’ tactics adopted by some of the charity teams, with many stores claiming the Chuggers have a negative effect on their trade by putting people off coming into their shops.

But after December 10 collectors will have to observe strict codes of practice relating to the way they approach and engage with people. Crucially, they will not be able to congregate in groups at busy points in the town centre.

In St Helens town centre fundraisers will be allowed to operate only in Church Street - between Hardshaw Street and Bridge Street - and Ormskirk Street, at the junction of Baldwin Street and Cotham Street.

Only one charity will be allowed to fundraise in any one area on any one day. No more than two branded fundraisers will be allowed to operate in each area. Frequency of fundraising will be also limited to Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10am and 6pm.

The PFRA will be charged with ensuring their members comply with the new agreement and managing bookings from their members wishing to operate in St Helens. Any complaints made to authorities in St Helens will be fed back to the PFRA so that action, including warnings, fines and exclusion, can be taken.

The council is introducing the agreement as part of a wider effort to improve the town centre experience for shoppers and visitors.

ANY members of the public wishing to complain about the activities of collectors can still do so by contacting the council on 01744 676731 or email events@sthelens.gov.uk.

Comments (16)

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2:52pm Tue 27 Nov 12

frankly says...

and not about time as well..whilst at it, get the regular beggers stopped as well....once it was "Have you got 20 p for a phone call" That then increased to 30p...Also "Have you got 50 p towards my bus fare" This week i got the best yet "Have you got a pound so i can get a pastie ?". Dont know if its me, but, i dont seem to have this problem in other towns.
and not about time as well..whilst at it, get the regular beggers stopped as well....once it was "Have you got 20 p for a phone call" That then increased to 30p...Also "Have you got 50 p towards my bus fare" This week i got the best yet "Have you got a pound so i can get a pastie ?". Dont know if its me, but, i dont seem to have this problem in other towns. frankly
  • Score: 0

5:17pm Tue 27 Nov 12

the dr who says...

I suppose they are doing a service for the reletive charity, but they should stand still and accept visitors not follow people all over the place, and if you pass them going one way they get you again coming back. they are a pain in the @rse.
I suppose they are doing a service for the reletive charity, but they should stand still and accept visitors not follow people all over the place, and if you pass them going one way they get you again coming back. they are a pain in the @rse. the dr who
  • Score: 0

5:21pm Tue 27 Nov 12

Cee Bee says...

Its about time something was done about these annoying little mithering money magpies! I'm fed up of having to either pretend i'm on my mobile or walking round the outside of the town centre to the bank just to avoid them. This is one of the reasons i've been doing my Christmas shopping online for the last 3 years now.
Its about time something was done about these annoying little mithering money magpies! I'm fed up of having to either pretend i'm on my mobile or walking round the outside of the town centre to the bank just to avoid them. This is one of the reasons i've been doing my Christmas shopping online for the last 3 years now. Cee Bee
  • Score: 0

5:57pm Tue 27 Nov 12

lovesthelens says...

I would ban them altogether. They don't seem to bother me (not sure if it's because I look scarey or poor) but I see others having to run the gauntlet with these people and it doesn't seem right.
Not very charitable to bully people into giving money. To me they don't seem much better than the smackhead beggars that populate the town centre.
I would ban them altogether. They don't seem to bother me (not sure if it's because I look scarey or poor) but I see others having to run the gauntlet with these people and it doesn't seem right. Not very charitable to bully people into giving money. To me they don't seem much better than the smackhead beggars that populate the town centre. lovesthelens
  • Score: 0

7:39pm Tue 27 Nov 12

saintsfan says...

Shelter are the worst at this. They operated in Warrington for a while too but have been surprisingly absent for a few months now (I wonder why). On one occasion, in St Helens, one of them tried to stop me from passing them by moving in front of me. I managed, with polite no thank yous, to get past only on my way back to have the same tactic applied by another Shelter chugger. This time the response to my more irritated 'no', I received a response to the effect that it would be my fault if someone stays homeless, to which I replied 'sod off'.

Because I've encountered a number of chuggers from different charities now I am no longer polite. I just either say go away or ignore them, depending on their approach.

I too think there should be a blanket ban on chuggers. We all have our favourite charities and we should all have the freedom to pass by the others.
Shelter are the worst at this. They operated in Warrington for a while too but have been surprisingly absent for a few months now (I wonder why). On one occasion, in St Helens, one of them tried to stop me from passing them by moving in front of me. I managed, with polite no thank yous, to get past only on my way back to have the same tactic applied by another Shelter chugger. This time the response to my more irritated 'no', I received a response to the effect that it would be my fault if someone stays homeless, to which I replied 'sod off'. Because I've encountered a number of chuggers from different charities now I am no longer polite. I just either say go away or ignore them, depending on their approach. I too think there should be a blanket ban on chuggers. We all have our favourite charities and we should all have the freedom to pass by the others. saintsfan
  • Score: 0

7:40pm Tue 27 Nov 12

frankly says...

well now they cant pass towards the centre, hardshaw st is their limit, so anyone approached nr McDons or Marks etc should tell them where to go
well now they cant pass towards the centre, hardshaw st is their limit, so anyone approached nr McDons or Marks etc should tell them where to go frankly
  • Score: 0

2:23am Wed 28 Nov 12

anthonywilson says...

Its about time action was taken on this.

People should be free to choose whichever charities they wish to do so without harassment in the street. Whilst many of the chuggers are representing many worthwhile charities, a considerable number of the chuggers themselves don't actually work for the charity they are getting people to sign up for but professional fundraising agencies that the charities hire for fundraising purposes.

Although Charities at the moment are having a tough time as people are giving less because they simply cannot afford it aggressive recruitment tactics are simply not on and at times Church Street is like running the gauntlet against the chuggers. What annoys me even more is the fact that there are many worthwhile local organisations and good causes that also need support rather than some of the big charities that dominate and don't always support local needs in St Helens.
Its about time action was taken on this. People should be free to choose whichever charities they wish to do so without harassment in the street. Whilst many of the chuggers are representing many worthwhile charities, a considerable number of the chuggers themselves don't actually work for the charity they are getting people to sign up for but professional fundraising agencies that the charities hire for fundraising purposes. Although Charities at the moment are having a tough time as people are giving less because they simply cannot afford it aggressive recruitment tactics are simply not on and at times Church Street is like running the gauntlet against the chuggers. What annoys me even more is the fact that there are many worthwhile local organisations and good causes that also need support rather than some of the big charities that dominate and don't always support local needs in St Helens. anthonywilson
  • Score: 0

8:55am Wed 28 Nov 12

frankly says...

Chuggers,Letter box appeals,spam mails,tv adverts, all about begging....In a way this is begging and i thought that was illegal.Its thrust down our throats every day..Charities, some, may need help, but i feel some dont.
Chuggers,Letter box appeals,spam mails,tv adverts, all about begging....In a way this is begging and i thought that was illegal.Its thrust down our throats every day..Charities, some, may need help, but i feel some dont. frankly
  • Score: 0

6:42pm Wed 28 Nov 12

moonman77 says...

Funny isn’t it ...the more affluent a town is, the less 'chuggers' you see.?
Funny isn’t it ...the more affluent a town is, the less 'chuggers' you see.? moonman77
  • Score: 0

6:27pm Thu 29 Nov 12

frankly says...

Why should i save the blue whale..ive never even seen one
Why should i save the blue whale..ive never even seen one frankly
  • Score: 0

6:45pm Thu 29 Nov 12

smith&weston says...

I believe that the odd chinning of a few of these idiots might help them to realise that they are in the wrong vocation. Why should my lawful passage along a public road be delayed or interrupted by some body deliberately blocking me and forcing me to a halt ?
I believe that the odd chinning of a few of these idiots might help them to realise that they are in the wrong vocation. Why should my lawful passage along a public road be delayed or interrupted by some body deliberately blocking me and forcing me to a halt ? smith&weston
  • Score: 0

7:00pm Thu 29 Nov 12

ollie70 says...

I once very politely said ' no...sorry', and the young man reacted quite aggressively and repeated sarcastically 'sorry, sorry, sorry!' Also had a chat with another guy who was very polite, and once he heard what i did, spent 20min asking me about it, no doubt eager to get out of his present occupation...
I once very politely said ' no...sorry', and the young man reacted quite aggressively and repeated sarcastically 'sorry, sorry, sorry!' Also had a chat with another guy who was very polite, and once he heard what i did, spent 20min asking me about it, no doubt eager to get out of his present occupation... ollie70
  • Score: 0

9:53am Fri 30 Nov 12

frankly says...

most do seem to be in the late teens eary 20s group, maybe their first chance of earning a living, but still dont like them
most do seem to be in the late teens eary 20s group, maybe their first chance of earning a living, but still dont like them frankly
  • Score: 0

9:35pm Fri 30 Nov 12

frankly says...

read on another site and a poster said "Dont try and dodge round them when they open their arms to stop you, just stand face to face, look at them and say, could you please get out of my way" Think i,ll try that
read on another site and a poster said "Dont try and dodge round them when they open their arms to stop you, just stand face to face, look at them and say, could you please get out of my way" Think i,ll try that frankly
  • Score: 0

11:21pm Mon 3 Dec 12

keepitreel says...

can someone shed some light on the story of the 99p store the chaplin of the town centre!!!!!!! has thanked the star for doing,have i missed something,as we don't get the star delivered were we live dont know if it was in the paper,thanks.
can someone shed some light on the story of the 99p store the chaplin of the town centre!!!!!!! has thanked the star for doing,have i missed something,as we don't get the star delivered were we live dont know if it was in the paper,thanks. keepitreel
  • Score: 0

6:12pm Tue 18 Dec 12

frankly says...

Seems on todays showing they are still at it..two near church square, one approached me and i politely said, you are not supposed to pass Hardshaw St now..She said "it doesnt matter" and her and her mate held their grounde..Why arnt the council checking on this
Seems on todays showing they are still at it..two near church square, one approached me and i politely said, you are not supposed to pass Hardshaw St now..She said "it doesnt matter" and her and her mate held their grounde..Why arnt the council checking on this frankly
  • Score: 0

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