Charity collections

If you collect money for charity from house to house or street collections you will usually need to have either a house to house collections licence or a street collections permit.

Our Charity Collections Policy was adopted by the Council in December 2017.  This included the re-adoption of Model Street Collections Regulations.  It was reviewed informally 18 months after adoption in June 2019 and approved by the Council's Regulatory Committee. 

We have issued a revised Icon for pdf draft Charity Collections Policy [249.1KB] for consultation.  We welcome any comments and suggestions and people can also complete this survey.  The results of the consultation will be considered by the Council's Regulatory Committee in November 2020 and the updated policy will then be used until 2023.

A Pedlar's licence can be issued by the Police Chief Commissioner in the area that a pedlar lives but it does not cover charitable collections.  A Pedlar has to fall within the definition of the Pedlar's Act 1871.

The following activities all need to be licensed unless the charity has a National Exemption Order (House to House exemption only):

  • collecting cash donations
  • selling goods such as pin badges
  • an appeal for direct debit donations (face to face fundraising)
  • an appeal for donations of unwanted goods such as clothes and bric-a-brac

An appeal for direct debit donations is not normally allowed in Runnymede's towns and village centres, but a small number of licences may be granted to do this with regard to house to house collections.  Each application will be treated on its merits.


You do not normally need a licence to hand out leaflets promoting a business, providing you are not soliciting people's financial details or pledges for some kind of financial transaction in connection with a charitable appeal.  However, you must not obstruct the highway, cause any form of nuisance that would give rise to a complaint, nor put yourself or anyone else at risk by your behaviour or actions. 

'We have reviewed this statement as at 29 June 2020 and are asking all charity collectors, buskers and others that have not already done so to cease activities to comply with PHE guidance on social distancing and avoiding going out except for essential reasons. We note there is no definitive Government guidance in respect of clothing collections.  In order to make a decision to lift the suspension now would require the Council to seek assurances/disclosure of risk assessments from each collector to ensure that by lifting the suspension we are not exposing residents to increased risks or facilitating breaches of the relevant COVID Regulations.  In the absence of such evidence from each collector, it is believed to be in the interest of protecting public health to keep the suspension in place until such time that the relevant COVID Regulations are amended. Licences that have been granted can, subject to availability, be moved to a future date. That new date will be confirmed upon receipt and consideration of such a request.  No new applications will be granted until further notice.

We are also asking nationally exempted charities and third party fundraisers to abide by this request and to follow guidance issued by the relevant national organisations and Central Government.  We will review the position again once shielding is 'paused' on 1 August 2020. 

For further guidance, please check the regular updates provided by Central Government and the Charity Commission:

And the Fundraising Regulator:

Fundraising Regulator Covid 19 Principles Fundraising Regulator Covid 19 Guidance



You can apply for a Icon for pdf House to House Collection Licence [550.96KB] or a Icon for pdf street collections permit [595.92KB] if you wish to raise money in these ways.

We allocate collection dates throughout the year, please specify your preferred dates when you apply. The Charity Diary 2020 shows when collections in Runnymede are taking place this year.  You can also look back to the Charity Diary 2019 for collections taking place last year.

In some locations you may also need permission from another organisation. Please note that all Royal British Legion applications must be submitted to us via their Head Office.

If you are granted a House to House Collections Licence you also need badges from The Stationery Office.  You can either use the form accompanying the licence or apply on-line direct from The TSO Shop.


If your application for a Street Collection permit is not granted, there is no statutory right of appeal.  However, if we do refuse your application you can appeal to the Council's Corporate Head of Law and Governance, Mario Leo, within 14 days of receiving a refusal notice.  If your application for a House to House Collections Licence is not granted you have a statutory right of appeal to the Minister for Civil Society, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 4th Floor, 100 Parliament Street, London, SW1A 2BQ.


Locally, we have decided that authorised official sellers of the Big Issue and volunteers with the Salvation Army selling the 'War Cry' do not need a licence from this Council because of the administrative burden this would place on them given the increased frequency of their activities compared with other cash collections. However, we are aware that some Big Issue sellers might not be registered with the Big Issue organisation so please check their ID before buying.

Some national charities are exempt from needing a house to house collections licence by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and are issued with a National Exemption Order, but they or the organisation or company that is collecting on their behalf must still notify us that they are collecting. You can view a list of exempt charities collecting in Runnymede.


The Live Music Act 2012 exempted most forms of busking from the need to be licensed and we no longer issue busking licences. However, if you are busking for a charity you may need a street collection permit or a house to house collections licence.

We ask buskers to follow the voluntary code of conduct set out below to avoid causing problems for residents and businesses.

Runnymede Borough Council welcomes activities that enhance the street scene and provide

good quality entertainment to the public. Under the provisions of the Live Music Act busking and carol singing is now exempt from licensing requirements, as it is usually incidental to other activities such as shopping or in the case of carol singing undertaking a charitable collection. The Live Music Act took effect from 1 October 2012. The Act removed the licensing requirements for live music in the following circumstances:

1. Where amplified live music is provided between 08:00 and 23:00 hours for audiences of no more than 200 people, in premises authorised under the Licensing Act 2003 to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises;

2. Where amplified live music is provided between 08:00 and 23:00 hours for audiences of no more than 200 people, in workplaces* which are not licensed under the Licensing Act 2003 (or which are licensed only for the provision of late night refreshment);

3. Where unamplified music is provided between 08:00 and 23:00 hours in any venue; and

4. Where Morris Dancing is taking place the exemption has been extended so that all accompanying music, whether live, recorded, amplified or unamplified is exempt from licensing requirements.

* a workplace includes the street, pub beer garden (if not included in a premises licence) and other outside non-domestic areas where people work.

To avoid complaints the Council asks buskers to abide by a Code of Conduct which is set out below. If busking or street entertainment is being conducted for a charitable purpose a street collection permit and/or house to house collections licence may also be required. Organisers are advised to contact the Council's Committee Section at least 28 days in advance of the event so that the necessary licences can be applied for and issued.

When choosing a suitable location there must be due regard for the need to avoid causing any obstruction or annoyance to residents, retailers, local businesses and the general public, in consultation with Surrey Police and Surrey Highway Authority. Buskers are advised to contact local businesses near to the proposed 'pitch' to check they are content for busking near their premises.

Large events such as Addlestone Town Festival, Magna Carta Day and Black Cherry Fair, theatrical performances and similar will usually fall under the requirements of the Licensing Act 2003 as 'regulated entertainment' and organisers are advised to contact the Council's Licensing Section at least 28 days before the event so that a risk assessment can be undertaken and other necessary provisions made to facilitate their event such as giving a Temporary Event Notice if required.

Code of Conduct for Buskers and Street Entertainers

1. Performances must not cause an obstruction to the highway (footpath), entrances/exits to shops and other premises or shop window displays occurs by entertainers or those gathering to watch. Performers must act safely at all times and not endanger themselves or others.

2. Performances in town centres are permitted between the hours of 08:00 and 23:00 hours. All de-regulated live music performances must cease at 11pm.

3. The use of amplifiers and loudspeakers is not advised so as to avoid causing a noise nuisance. Mains or generated power amplifiers are likely to present particular problems and should not be used. If music and or voices can be plainly heard at a distance of 50 metres it is too loud.

5. Performers must not dress or act in way that is likely to offend others or amounts to anti-social behaviour - likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to members of the public or local traders. This includes performing whilst under the influence of alcohol, solvents or drugs.

6. The sale of CDs or other items is prohibited in accordance with relevant Street Trading legislation. Buskers must not cause an obstruction under the Highways Act 1980, nor cause a noise nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (as amended by the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993). All litter/waste arising from the event must be removed from site. Any breach of these Acts and or associated legislation and regulations including the Live Music Act where appropriate, may result in the busker or street entertainer being 'moved on' and subject to appropriate enforcement action by the relevant authority.

Some forms of street entertainment, for example a theatrical performance, are defined as 'regulated entertainment' under the Licensing Act 2003 and you might need a licence. Please email for more information about regulated entertainment.



Compliance Guidance for Commercial Participators (Commercial Clothing Collections)

The Committee of Advertising Practice published Icon for pdf guidance [494.12KB] which explains how commercial participators should amend their advertising on charity bags to comply with a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority which requires commercial participants to communicate their name and company status on both sides of the bag.  If the bag features a charity's name it must not be given greater prominence than the name of the company undertaking the collection.  Commercial clothing collection companies were required to amend their advertising by 2 June 2017.

Those who are unable or unwilling to follow the rules may be referred by the ASA to Trading Standards under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Some commercial collections do not need to be licensed but you can find more information by looking at our page on Commercial Clothing Collections.

Cold calling

We require charities and professional fundraising companies not to call at houses which display stickers discouraging door to door sales and similar activities. This is in line with the Fundraising Regulator Code of Fundraising Practice and Code of Conduct. The Fundraising Regulator carries out regular reviews of the code.  Any changes to the code will be reported here when available. The Fundraising Regulator's new Code of Fundraising Practice was effective from 1 October 2019.

Runnymede does not have any official 'no cold calling' areas.  However, if you would like to have approved no cold calling stickers please either visit Surrey County Council's Trading Standards web pages or we have a small stock of their 'stop cold calling' sticker packs which we can give to you on request.

The Fundraising Regulator has a Fundraising Preference Service where people can choose to stop email, telephone, post and/or text messages from a selected charity.  They also have a Register of charities that have registered with them.  The Fundraising Regulator also has a Icon for pdf Street Rule Book [144.52KB] with which the charities registered with them are required to abide.


Unauthorised collections

If you are unsure whether a collection is authorised please email


The Charity Commission advises the public to follow these tips to avoid charity scams:

1. Before giving, check the charity's name and registration number. You can verify this at the Charity Commission's website.

2. When approached by collectors, check whether they are wearing a proper ID badge and that any collection tin is sealed.

3. If in doubt, ask the collector for more information - a genuine fundraiser should be happy to answer questions and explain more about the work of the charity.

4. Genuine fundraising materials should feature the charity's name, registered name and a landline contact number. Be wary of those that list only a mobile number.

5. Look for the FRSB tick logo indicating that the charity is signed up to fundraising regulation, encouraging you to give with confidence.

6. To check whether a fundraiser is authorised to collect money in a public place, contact your local authority or, if in London, the police. If it is a private place, check with the owner.

7. Take care when responding to emails or clicking links to a charity's website to ensure that they are genuine. Instead, search online for your favourite charity to check you have the right web address.

8. Carefully review collection bags for clothing and household goods to ascertain whether they are from a genuine charity.

9. After making these checks, if you think that a collection or appeal is not legitimate, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and inform the Charity Commission.

10. If in any doubt, contact your favoured charity direct to make a donation.



The following charities or their third party fundraisers have advised us that they collect in our borough. They do not need a licence because they hold a National Exemption Order issued by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for collections either carried out by themselves or on their behalf by a commercial fundraising company. This list covers House to House Collections of cash, direct debits and clothing collections as indicated. The full list of exempted charities is available on this page via the link.
In some locations you may need to get permission from another organisation for charitable collections, in addition to either a house to house collections licence or a street collections permit.
Charity Diary 2019
Charity Diary 2020