CityCo, the city centre management company for Manchester, has signed an agreement with the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA) to regulate on-street fundraising. Manchester joins 39 other UK towns and cities including Leeds and Sheffield in having a street fundraising agreement.
The agreement, which has been approved by Manchester City Council, sets out four dedicated zones in the city centre where face-to-face fundraising activity can take place and will take effect from 28 February 2011.
The number of fundraisers is limited to five per zone and they will only be allowed to fundraise on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 9am and 6pm. No fundraising will be permitted in the city centre at weekends or evenings.
Manchester has set up a reporting facility to help monitor street fundraising activity, the first city to do so. Anyone can report any fundraisers who appear to be breaking the agreement by emailing st***************@ci****.com.
Also, if members of the public feel that fundraisers are not adhering to the established national code of professional conduct, they can can contact the PFRA directly on 020 7401 8452 or through the ‘complaint’ button on the website www.pfra.org.uk.
Councillor Pat Karney, Manchester City Council’s city centre spokesperson, said: “We believe we have achieved a breakthrough agreement that is acceptable to all parties concerned. We know there was a lot of debate about this issue last year and we have worked hard to address it. It’s important that Manchester city centre remains a pleasant place to work, live and visit but we also recognise charities have the legal right to fundraise on our streets. Working closely with the PFRA and regulating the practice seems the sensible way forward”. Manchester has yet again led the way by offering a dedicated reporting channel to help us monitor the practice.”
Dr Toby Ganley, PFRA’s head of policy, added: “CityCo staff and council officials have put in a lot of time and effort into getting this agreement with the PFRA right and we believe it will be effort well spent… Face-to-face fundraising is a valuable income source for many charities, bringing in about £10 million a month.
“But no-one should feel guilty about not stopping to talk to a fundraiser. If you don’t want to give, just walk on by. People have a right to decline to give to a charity – but a charity has an equal right to ask them to support their cause and their beneficiaries and this is what the new agreement with Manchester City Council and CityCo enshrines.”