Councillors have today (20 April 2016) agreed to reduce the number of face-to-face fundraisers in Birmingham by more than 70 per cent.
Birmingham City Council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee unanimously agreed to sign a three-month agreement, drawn up by the Public Fundraising Association (PFRA) to limit charity fundraisers – also known as ‘chuggers’ – activity in the city centre.
As part of this agreement a maximum of 12 fundraisers will be able to work across three zones on a given day (with a maximum of four per zone) – with no fundraisers working on New Street on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
It is anticipated that, following an eight-week lead-in period, the PFRA’s site management agreement will come into effect in mid-to-late June 2016, and run for three months.
During this period officers will carry out further negotiations with the PFRA and consult with city centre businesses to assess what impact the reduction of fundraisers has on visitor and shopper experience.
Committee members hope that, by the autumn, a further reduction can be agreed to limit activity to eight fundraisers (maximum of four per zone), across two zones over two days.
Fundraising teams of up to six people, currently operate over seven city centre zones including Broad Street, Bull Street, Cherry Street/Union Street, Colmore Row, Corporation Street, High Street and New Street, which includes two zones. In total, up to 42 fundraisers could be asking people to sign up to regular charity donations on any given day.
Committee members and PFRA representatives were taken on a walking tour of the city centre and Sutton Coldfield on 17 July 2015 to identify key locations where face-to-face fundraising took place.
Following this visit, officers suggested the number of fundraisers be limited to two per zone, but the PFRA responded with a revised proposal, which includes:
- Reducing the number of fundraisers per zone from six to four
- No fundraisers to work on New Street on Wednesdays and Saturdays
- No more than three zones to operate on any given day
- Only two zones to operate on Wednesdays
- No neighbouring zones to operate on the same day Implementing a shorter zone in Corporation Street to avoid it overlapping with New Street
- Broad Street and Victoria Square no longer to operate as fundraising zones.
These proposals, agreed at committee today (20 April), would see a maximum of 12 fundraisers operating in the city centre on permitted days – a reduction of 71 per cent.
Chris Neville, Head of Licensing for Birmingham City Council, said: “We recognise that charities are struggling to secure donations to enable the good work that they do to continue, especially in the current financial climate.
“While the council doesn’t want to stop charities from engaging with potential donors, it must also balance the feelings of the general public who may feel intimidated and retailers who may have been adversely affected by face-to-face fundraising.
“The PFRA’s site management agreement does show a willingness to work in partnership with us to ensure charities can fundraise without detracting from other activities in the city centre, however it is hoped a further reduction can be agreed.”