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.

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:

  • 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 allowed in Runnymede's towns and village centres, but a small number of licences may be granted to do this via house to house collecting.


You can apply for a Icon for pdf house to house collection licence [477.8KB] or a Icon for pdf street collections permit [524.17KB] if you wish to raise money in these ways.

We manage the demand of charitable collections by allocating particular days so you will need to specify your preferred dates on the application. Our Charity Diary shows when collections in Runnymede are taking place.

In some locations you may also need permission from another organisation. Please note that all Royal British Legion applications must come via their head office.


If your application for a Street Collection permit is not granted, there is currently no right of appeal.  If your application for a House to House Collections Licence is not granted you have a right of appeal to the Minister for Civil Society, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, 4th Floor, 100 Parliament Street, London, SW1A 2BQ.


Authorised official sellers of the Big Issue and the Salvation Army 'War Cry' do not need a licence from the Council because they are exempted by the Newspapers Libel and Registration Act 1881.  However, some collectors may be selling the Big Issue without official permission 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 must still notify us that they are collecting. You can view a list of exempt charities collecting in Runnymede.

Unauthorised collections

If you are unsure whether a collection is authorised please use the Charity Collections Report Form. You can also check a list of unlicensed charity collections.

Cold calling

We expect 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 is currently carrying out a consultation on proposed changes to the code.  The outcome of the consultation will be reported here when available.

Runnymede does not have any official 'no cold calling' areas.  However, if you would like to have approved no cold calling stickers please visit Surrey County Council's Trading Standards web pages.

The Fundraising Regulator has recently launched the 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.

Compliance Guidance for Commercial Participators (Commercial Clothing Collections)

The Committee of Advertising Practice has 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.

Charity Collections Policy 2017 - 2020

Our new Charity Collections Policy has been adopted by the Council. This included the re-adoption of Model Street Collections Regulations. 

This is the Icon for pdf Charity Collections Policy 2017-2020 [294.39KB]. It will be reviewed 18 months after adoption in June 2019. However, you can always send us comments and suggestions.