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Street collections regulations

This summary of the regulations will give you an idea of what’s involved. If you are planning a charitable collection you need to read them in full before you apply for a permit.

Definitions

  • ‘Collection’ money or items that are donated and ‘Collector’ refers to the person that accepts the money or items.
  • ‘Promoter’ the person in charge of the collection and the people who are collecting donations.
  • ‘Permit’ the licence you need before you can start your collection. 
  • ‘Contributor’ anyone who donates money or items. 
  • ‘Collecting Box’ any container the collectors keep the donated money in (this could be a bucket or bag for example).

What you can and can’t do as a collector

You can’t legally begin a collection in Bournemouth, Christchurch or Poole unless you’ve got a permit from us.

You’ll need to apply for it at least two weeks before the date you plan to do your collection on.

You can only collect on the dates and in the area listed in the permit.

We might not give you permission to collect in all of the areas you want to, so you must check where you can and can’t go.

When you’re collecting you must not annoy, beg or harass people. You must stay off of the road and stay in one spot, unless you’re part of a parade or procession.

You can’t be closer than 25 meters to another collector, unless you’re part of a parade or procession. You cannot get paid or pay for anything using the money that gets raised during the collection.

Collections

Each charity is only permitted to make up to six collections across the BCP Council area per year (Jan - Dec) regardless who is doing the collecting.

Special dispensation for longer collections may be given to charities such as Royal British Legion for their Poppy Appeal, but this is at the council's discretion.

If you’re organising the collection

You must make sure that all the collectors are 16 or over and that anyone who helps out with organising the collection has written permission from the promoter or organisation you’re raising money for first. They’ll need to be able to show this if asked.

You must make sure that all collection boxes are sealed, numbered and clearly display the name of the organisation you’re raising money. You’re responsible for making sure the collection boxes are only opened when you’re there, or that they’re opened at the bank and that the box number and amount it contained is provided on the financial return form.

Financial return forms

If you’re the person named on the permit, it is your responsibility to complete the financial return form within one month of the collection happening. You will be asked to provide the name of the collectors, how much each box contained and list any expenses or payments you had to make as part of the collection. You will need to provide proof that any money collected has been paid to the charity or organisation. If you don’t complete the return, we won’t be able to accept future permit applications from you, or the charity you were collecting on behalf of.