Rules for Cheltenham 'chuggers' already making a difference
THE days of 'chuggers' having free rein on the streets of Cheltenham have come to an end.
New rules and regulations to restrict where and when charity fundraisers can approach people to sign up to their respective causes came into force on Monday.
And business leaders and shoppers alike have welcomed the changes.
Self-employed James Rushbrooke, 30, is in Cheltenham frequently as part of his job.
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He said: "It has made a big difference to Cheltenham.
"Before, they were everywhere. I was often stopped a couple of times by them as I tried to make my way up the street and I felt guilty saying no.
"Already it feels a lot nicer in the town centre."
John Forward, manager of the Regent Arcade Shopping Centre, agreed, saying: "In Cheltenham, in particular, there were several different charities all vying for space and for people's money, so visitors to Cheltenham were constantly being badgered.
"A simple no in many cases didn't suffice.
"At the end of the day, people don't want that. People are quite happy to support charities, but these people were often too aggressive."
Anna Kaye, who lives in Winchcombe and takes the bus to go shopping in Cheltenham, also welcomed the change.
She said: "It was becoming a bit of a problem.
"It wasn't nice and it could be a nuisance."
Joss Hockwell commutes to work in Cheltenham every day from Bristol, and said the new measures made it easier to navigate the town's High Street.
She said: "There are already plenty of opportunities to give to charity so people coming up to you make you feel uncomfortable.
"I think restricting them to that section of shops will help."
It is the first time street direct debit charity collections have been regulated in the town and it follows an agreement earlier this year between charity industry regulators and Cheltenham Borough Council.
Under the new arrangements, the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA) and council bosses have set limits on the numbers of charity workers allowed in the town.
The frequency and locations of face-to-face charity collectors have also been restricted.
The collectors will only be allowed in town on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday and only one charity will be allowed to operate each day.
Fundraisers will be limited to one section of the High Street, between Winchcombe Street and Pittville Street, with a maximum of four collectors.
Collectors will be bound by a code of conduct on the methods they use for collections.