John Spellar

Labour MP for Warley

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MP urges local residents to have a ‘Safe Xmas’ when donating to charity

John Spellar, MP for Warley, is urging residents to give safely to charities this Christmas by remembering the ‘Safe Xmas’ acronym developed by the Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, and the Fundraising Standards Board, the self-regulatory body for UK fundraising. Both regulators will also be issuing the advice on social media, which can be found by following #SafeXmas.

Christmas is a traditional time for giving and charities work hard to raise money during this time to fund their work throughout the year. The general public give generously to charity and in a survey of people’s giving habits last Christmas, 85% of people said they give directly to charity at Christmas, donating an average of around £40 to the good causes they care about.*

Almost all collections are genuine, but some people will try to abuse the generosity of others for their own gain. With some charities and supporters having experienced fraud, it is vital that the public know that their donations are going to the right place. The Charity Commission and FRSB have come together to issue a few simple tips for giving with confidence this Christmas.

#SafeXmas

Search for a charity’s name, registration number and landline on fundraising materials Ask to see a collector’s ID badge and don’t be afraid to ask questions Find the FRSB tick logo, showing that the charity’s fundraising is regulated Ensure the collection device is sealed

Xtra information about charities can be found at www.gov.uk/charity-commission Make sure clothing collection bags are clearly branded with a charity’s details Always check email and web links are genuine before donating Still unsure? Contact your favourite charity direct and donate

John Spellar, MP for Warley, calls on local residents to give safely this Christmas, saying:

“People here in Sandwell are incredibly generous in giving both time and money to good causes at Christmas. Many charities will be relying on these donations to fund vital services that continue throughout the year and nobody can afford for those donations to go astray.

“If you are asked to give money to charity and something doesn’t feel quite right or you just want to be completely sure, take a good look at the fundraising materials, follow the ‘Safe Xmas’ tips and, if in doubt, get in touch with the charity you want to support directly.”

Paula Sussex, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, said:

“It’s great to see that people are still extremely generous to charities at Christmas, and throughout the year. We’d like to remind the public that by taking a few small steps when donating, you can ensure that your money goes to the right place.

“Whilst incidents of fundraising fraud are rare, they do sadly occur. Don’t be put off from giving – instead, help keep charities accountable by using the resources available to make checks when giving this season. Use the Online Register, ask questions and have a ‘Safe Xmas’ this year knowing you’ve made a difference.”

Alistair McLean, Chief Executive of the Fundraising Standards Board, said:

“Although bogus fundraising remains rare in the UK, it is essential that we all do what we can to make it increasingly difficult for criminals to cheat charities and their supporters. For donors, this means being aware and, if in doubt, making a few simple checks before giving. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to contact the charity with your queries.

“Above all, keep on giving. Your donations could make a critical difference to the good causes you care about this Christmas.”

For more information on fundraising regulation, go to the FRSB website, to the Charity Commission’s guidance on GOV.UK or to the Commission’s newly published fundraising statement which signposts readers to the correct regulator for any issues they wish to raise.

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