Thursday 13 July 2006 11.14am
Sadly, it is legal for chuggers to harass you if they have permits for the area.
You will usually see a rotation of charities and the area will usually be left "fallow" every few days/weeks to ensure that not enough people complain about the same people at the same time. Chuggers are not supposed to obstruct your path by stepping in front of you (no, really!)
If you want to complain you can ask to speak to the Team Leader on site - this might result in slightly less obstructive behaviour for 10 mins. You can also complain to Southwark Council
, who I think issue the permits. I've emailed to get a contact name for you.
Please be aware that the PFRA (Public Fundraising Regulatory Association), which sounds like an organisation set up to protect the public, was actually set up by the companies which run chugging teams. They needed to find a way to allay public concerns and Carve
up the country so that each company got a bite of the cherry, without competing with each other. Also, by being (self) regulated they were able to put more pressure on those local authorities that resisted allowing chugging.
Still, it works for the charities, who now rely on it income and are notgoing to be receptive to adopt a less intrusive means of fundraising. Face to Face fundraising is a fantastic way for a large charity to wipe its hands clean of a lot of hassle and just pay a company to get the public to sign up.
Chugging is big, big business and can only be fought on a local area by area basis. I think if a group of young beggars organised themselves this effectively, they'd be asbo'd out of it in ten minutes. So why is it ok when people wear bibs and collect for something they do not have a personal interest in? Chuggers are people employed to be cynically ignorant with a smiling face. Human animated advertisement hoarding. Just because they are not hurling abuse at you or fitting you does not mean you are not being assaulted by them.
I work for a charity and we have had heated internal debate about whether this is an appropriate form of fundraising or not. I have to say I cringe when I walk past a team of people collecting money for our charity and think of all the fat legacies we will lose as people grow to hate us .......