Charity apologises for cold calling in Horsham

JPCT 100913 S13370254x Horsham. John Randell, 76, dislikes cold-callers at his home -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 100913 S13370254x Horsham. John Randell, 76, dislikes cold-callers at his home -photo by Steve Cobb

A charity has apologised after admitting it told representatives to ignore cold caller signs in the Horsham area.

Complaints have been made to police and neighbourhood watch teams after fundraisers from The Children’s Trust knocked on doors in Horsham.

This is despite signs - often put up by elderly or vulnerable home owners - asking unwanted callers to leave.

Peggy Phillips, who lives near Pondtail Road, has shared her experiences about The Children’s Trust knocking on her door.

She unlocked her door to a caller and pointed to her cold caller sticker.

She said:“He stayed put, so I opened the door and said ‘I’m sorry but I’m not interested and have you not seen the sticker?’

“He said he was working for children and took a couple of steps forward as though he was about to cross the threshold.

“So I shut the front door in his face. He started protesting so I pointed to the sticker again and then went inside the inner door and shut that too.”

In a letter to concerned residents, the chief executive of The Children’s Trust, Dalton Leong, apologised and explained why the signs had been ignored, and added the charity has decided ‘to review our campaign strategy’ following ‘upset caused’ by the door knocking.

It read: “I would like to apologise for any concern or distress caused by our fundraiser.

“We have found that many people who display ‘no cold calling’ stickers have welcomed our fundraisers into their homes and thoroughly enjoy speaking with them about our work.

“We do understand, however, that for some people all unsolicited calls are inconvenient, and so we do ask our fundraisers to act sensitively to residents in ‘no cold calling zones’ - leaving immediately and politely, if asked.

“After seeing the upset caused to residents of ‘no cold calling zones’ we have decided to review our campaign strategy.”

In a statement, Mr Leong added: “We have received many comments about how polite, knowledgeable and professional our fundraisers are, even from people who have chosen not to support us financially.”

He added that with immediate effect the charity will avoid all ‘no cold calling zones’ for the duration of this campaign.

Clare McKnight, Neighbourhood Policing Team Inspector at Horsham police, explained the signs have no legal status and act simply as a deterrent. She said: “Most legitimate companies will respect the wishes of these residents and will not call on such people. However, some organisations take a different view and directly instruct people to knock on such doors. I am hopeful these are isolated tactics by such charities.”