British Red Cross trials fundraising inside WHSmith stores

Face-to-face fundraisers allowed to operate inside shops such as the Holborn Circus store in London

Retailer WHSmith has permitted fundraisers from the British Red Cross to operate inside its stores.

A face-to-face team from the British Red Cross worked from a pitch inside the retailer's Holborn Circus store in London as part of a trial last week.

A spokeswoman for WHSmith confirmed that the trial took place but said she was unable to comment on the nature of the arrangement between the retailer and the charity. But she said it was unlikely that the charity would have paid to use the spot in the store because the British Red Cross was one of the causes the retailer supported.

The retailer would collect feedback from its customers to see how they felt about fundraising in the stores and pass it on to the British Red Cross, she added.

Liz Williams, director of individual giving at the British Red Cross, said: "As with all our fundraising activities, the results of this trial, including feedback from the public, will be closely assessed before any decision is made to continue or expand the activity."

Mick Aldridge, chief executive of the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association, said that the idea of charities carrying out face-to-face fundraising inside stores was new, but it was relatively common for them to purchase "paid pitch" slots in shopping centres, garden centres or next to shop entrances.

"People are likely to be more relaxed if they are browsing in a shop, and may be more responsive to a fundraiser's pitch," he added.

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