A street collection licence is issued by the Met and grants you permission to collect money for charity in London’s public spaces. If you’re planning to hit the streets with your change bucket, find out how to apply for a collection licence, the rules around collecting donations on the street and how to report your takings afterwards.

Before collection

To make sure you don’t have to compete for donations with another charity on your collection day, we allocate a set number of street collection dates each year. A charity is allowed four street collection days per year, but each day must be in separate boroughs.

Download our Street Collection Dates to plan your ideal collection dates.

Preparing your application

To apply for a street collection licence you’ll need the following items:

  • Your completed Street Collections Application Form
  • A letter from your chosen charity authorising you to collect on their behalf
  • A synopsis of the charity’s background and objectives
  • Contact details of your chief promoter, who must be an employee of the charity
  • A letter of sponsorship from the Mayor of your chosen borough or boroughs (a letter is not required for the boroughs of Westminster and Newham)

If you’re collecting during the London Marathon along its route, a letter of sponsorship from the Mayor isn’t required.

These can take some time to gather together, so we recommend starting your preparations as early as possible. Also, bear in mind we must receive applications by the first day of the month before your chosen collection date. So, for example, if you’re planning to collect on 20 September we need to receive your application no later than 1 August.

Once you have all the items above, post them with a covering letter to:

Charities Office
17th Floor East
Lillie Road
London
SW6 1TR

Please note

In order to qualify for a licence, your chosen charity must be registered with the Charity Commission.

During collection

Street collection licences are granted on the condition that you follow these general rules when collecting:

  • Collectors must be over 16 years old, unless the collection is part of a procession

  • If the collection is part of a procession, collectors can be any age, though under 14s must be accompanied by a responsible adult

  • Collectors must be stationary, unless the collection is part of a procession

  • Collectors must be positioned at least 25 metres apart

  • Collectors must not be a danger, obstruction, inconvenience or annoyance to anyone

  • All collection boxes/buckets should display the name of the charity or fund collecting and should be securely sealed

  • No animal except guide dogs should accompany collectors

  • Collectors should carry a written authority or badge signed on behalf of the Chief Promoter

  • No payment should be made to collectors

  • A sample badge or letter of authority should be submitted to the Charities office before the collection takes place

In addition, while ‘fancy dress’ is a good way to grab attention, we strongly discourage hiring or buying costumes using the proceeds of the collection. Only 10% of your collection may be claimed as expenses for your first collection.

After collection

Great job, you’ve raised some money for a good cause. But don’t forget, as part of your street collection licence you need to submit the details below within three months:

  • the total amount collected
  • the names of all collectors and amounts collected by each
  • any expenses or payments incurred
  • certification by two of the people responsible for the collection
  • certification by a qualified accountant

  • An article shall be published in a printed or online newspaper, describing the area in which the collection took place, the amount collected and any expenses incurred

If your collection total is £400 or less, you can request that the need for an accountant's signature on the Schedule 2 form and the publication of a newspaper article be waived.