Burnley businessman takes on the charity muggers

A BUSINESSMAN and voluntary charity worker is taking a Government minister to task in his campaign against chuggers.

Wednesday, 2nd November 2011, 3:40 pm

Mr Peter Quinn, managing director of United Press in Burnley, is having a run-in with Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society.

He says that firms employing chuggers – short for charity muggers – are making huge profits from people who give money to charity, and the charities themselves. And that chuggers are frequently confrontational and aggressive, making it difficult for bona-fide volunteers like him as chuggers give charity collections a bad name among the public.

The Minister told Mr Quinn, who lives in Burnley, to refer to the Public Fund-raising Regulatory Association about best practice followed by its members.

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Mr Quinn, chairman of Songs for Christie’s and of Charity Aid, was not impressed. He said: “The only reason chugging exists is that the public are not aware of the facts. Two things will stop chugging – awareness of how much this parasitic industry siphons off from donations intended for charity, and legislation introduced by people such as yourself, to control it.”

Mr Quinn said the regulatory association’s annual report confirmed chugging firms recruit 750,000 donors a year. “Charities have told me they pay well over £100 per new donor – so this shows how much chugging takes out of charity donations,” he said.

Mr Quinn, who works in St James’s Street, said he had been frequently harassed in Burnley centre. “The association’s website says that no-one has a right not to be stopped in the street and ‘chugged’. I think most members of the public would dispute this claim.”

He asked the Minister: “Why is it there is no legislation against chugging which takes millions out of the charity funding where there is so much legislation against volunteer work, which doesn’t. Why are chuggers allowed to approach and stop people when volunteers can’t even shake a bucket? Chugging is not face-to-face fund-raising, it is in-your-face fund-raising.”