'No cold calling' zone could put off charity collectors
PLANS for a “no cold calling“ zone in Wargrave could be scrapped over fears it would
PLANS for a “no cold calling“ zone in Wargrave could be scrapped over fears it would hit charity collectors.
Parish councillors have been considering setting up a zone to discourage rogue salespeople.
Residents would be given stickers and signs by Thames Valley Police to warn off unwanted callers.
But there are now concerns that the zone would prevent charities from collecting door to door.
Michael Porter, chairman of the Wargrave branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, said the independent regulator for charities had issued new guidance saying that charity collectors must not call on houses with “no cold callers“ signs.
The guidelines were brought in partly in response to the death of Olive Cooke, the country‘s oldest poppy seller, in May. The 92-year-old committed suicide after suffering from depression which friends said was caused by numerous charity requests, with up to 180 letters and phone calls a month.
Mr Porter, of Station Road, Wargrave suggested renaming the no cold calling zone to get round the rules.
He said: “The stickers in Wargrave at the moment say ‘we do not buy or sell‘, which is perfectly okay for charity collectors.
“As far as I‘m concerned as a representative of the RNLI, if residents wish to protect themselves they should call it a no buying or selling area rather than a no cold calling zone.
“Every poppy seller carries a certificate and badge to say they‘re an authorised seller.
“I think Wokingham Borough Council should be alerted that if they continue to call it a cold calling zone they risk excluding charities.“
Pc Simon Botham said the police would be willing to speak to residents about how to deal with cold callers.
He said: “The area we see most problems with is ‘Nottingham knockers‘, those characters who tend to be quite rude and aggressive.
“If there‘s anyone aggressive at your door call 999 — we would rather come along and check their credentials than let anything else happen. Unfortunately, it‘s charities that will be put off doing it.“ Council chairman Richard Bush suggested educating villagers about cold callers, especially older residents who may live alone.
He said: “People have rights — you don‘t have to answer the door and let anyone in your house.
“Elderly and vulnerable people have to be told it‘s not rude to tell people to go away because lots of them don‘t know that.“
Parish clerk Stephen Hedges said: “It‘s all in the name. It was never supposed to affect the organisations that have been mentioned.
“We have to be very careful what we call these rogue traders so ‘no cold calling‘ was the easiest way.“
Councillors agreed to liaise with the borough council before deciding whether to go ahead with the idea.