Former leader of Islington voluntary service council backs ban on chugging

David Abse says local charities lose out because street fundraising is dominated by national charities

David Abse
David Abse

The former director of the council for voluntary service in the north London borough of Islington has said he fully supports a local councillor’s bid to ban street fundraising in the area.

David Abse, who was director of Voluntary Action Islington between 1999 and 2006, when it was called IVAC, said that a ban on chugging in the area, which the council has this week talked about introducing, had been a "long time coming".

Paul Convery, executive member for planning, regeneration and parking at the Labour-run Islington Council, said this week that he had asked the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association to stop the activities of collectors on the street in Islington.

Abse said local charities lost out because people in the area were being asked so often to give to national charities by street fundraisers, and they could give to one or two charities only. "It makes it very hard for local fundraisers to raise money from the local community at all," he said.

"In my view, it doesn’t do the sector any good. Those who give don’t give much at all, and it doesn’t benefit local people."

Abse said that when he worked in Islington he would get accosted by three or four street fundraisers whenever he walked down the high street at lunchtime.

Mike Sherriff, chief executive of Voluntary Action Islington, said the organisation did not have an official position on banning chugging in the local area. But he said it wanted to encourage local people to give to local organisations, because Islington was one of the poorest boroughs in the country.

"In terms of the ban, I think the issue for us is that we want people to give locally and money given through chugging doesn’t go to meet local needs," he said.

Sherriff said a lot of national charities were based in Islington but they did not have much involvement in the borough. "We have called on them to do more work in the borough but the response has been disappointing," he said.

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