Wareham Street Collection 2018

We don’t usually post about street collections, but this was a bit of an exception. At the best of times, street collections are not exactly fun events. If you want to experience the feeling of being invisible, without consuming anything illicit, stand on a high street holding a collecting tin.  However, historically we have still managed to collect around £500 from the three street collections we have traditionally held each year (in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Wareham). It’s worth adding that street collections are quite tightly managed by the respective councils. You have to apply some time in advance for a permit and are allocated whatever day is available.  The regulations also stipulate what you can and cannot do (no shaking!!) and where you can collect.

It’s worth pointing out that Bournemouth council have sold off the Square to a private company and Christchurch council have done likewise with Saxon Square. Consequently these areas our out of bounds when doing a collection (Bournemouth Council also forbid collecting in the Gardens). But the main problem with street collections has been a poor showing from the kind people of the respective towns. They seem to have forgotten (or never been taught or told) their role in a street collection: – you stop, you rummage for some change, you apologise for how little you’ve got, you clumsily try to get it through the too small slot in the tin, you accept the offer of a sticker (mainly so you can pass other collectors without guilt), you either proffer a finger, shoulder or bag to affix sticker to (and not a chest!). Simple…

After poor returns – particularly in Bournemouth – we haven’t applied for permits on Bournemouth or Christchurch this year. We should add that the problems listed above have been exacerbated by having fewer volunteers willing to take part in this increasingly unproductive ritual. We had also missed out on Wareham for a couple of years for other, more logistical, reasons. But, despite the distance some volunteers would have to travel, we decided to give Wareham another go.  The residents of Wareham had always been very receptive – hopefully they would remember their role in proceedings.

We needn’t have worried. We were only on the streets of Wareham for two hours, with four collectors, but raised a fantastic £92.35.  This may not sound a huge amount, but a couple individual collectors  got over £25, which compares with an average of less than £10 for two hours in Bournemouth. What’s more, people were genuinely friendly, often keen to talk and aware of some of the issues (and who Amnesty International are). Some even commented they’d missed seeing us recently!  Interest has also been shown in setting up a Wareham group.

So, a big thank you to Wareham, we enjoyed our morning. And we’ll be back.