The Brighton City Centre Business Forum has collected signatures from traders in the main shopping streets in the North Laine as a demonstration of their growing dissatisfaction with the current self-regulation of street fundraisers.
Traders have been complaining about ‘chuggers’ (direct debit charity collectors) for years and nothing ever seems to be done to control their behaviour. They are governed by a voluntary code of practice, which many operatives on the street have shown themselves to be blissfully unaware of.
The Public Fundraisers Regulatory Association (PFRA) does not recognise the extent of the problem because they get very few complaints. However, operatives are known to break the code of practice and are often very reluctant to give information about the agencies that employ them.
City Centre Manager, Soozie Campbell who is campaigning for the traders in Brighton said, “It’s not surprising that the PFRA gets very few complaints. No one has ever heard of it and of those who have few would know where to find it and even fewer would bother to write them a letter.”
The Business Forum receives verbal complaints daily and decided that it was time to get something in writing for the benefit of the PFRA. A petition was drawn up and Councillor Sue Paskins, Green Party Councillor for the North Laine ward presented it to the full council meeting on Thursday 25 November. Over 160 businesses in the North Laine and a further 40 in George St Hove have signed the petition.
The Business Forum and the North Laine traders hope that Brighton & Hove City Council will take a serious look at the licensing laws and see if there is a way to bring on-street fundraising under the regulation of the local authority. This would mean that what is now a voluntary code could become legislation that is properly enforced.
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Brighton & Hove Business Forum
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North Laine Traders Association