The comedian Joe Lycett has raised more than £66,000 for Crisis, with more money coming in, through an unusual fundraiser sparked by home secretary Suella Braverman’s comments that rough sleeping is a “lifestyle choice”.
In response to her comments Lycett joked on his Instagram account over the weekend that he had always though a lifestyle choice were “things such as cargo pants, fishing and decorating your bathroom with a bowl of potpourri”,
He then asked his followers if his posting of an image of a “wooden botanical fragrant potpourri bowl with lemon” could raised £50,000 for Crisis.
This week the charity has announced that Lycett’s fundraiser has “smashed” his target already “and people are still stepping up with support”.
As of 10am today, the amount raised stood at £66,454.42.
Crisis added “we will never look at potpourri in the same way again”.
Commenting on his fundraising achievement on Tuesday Lycett said on Instagram: “I woke up this morning to see that a picture of a bowl of potpourri I post just over two days ago has raised £50,000 for Crisis. A huge thank you to everyone who donated for their generosity.
“Of course, my main thanks must go to Suella: without your lifestyle choice, of being callous and cruel towards the most vulnerable people in society, none of this would’ve happened.”
He added: “There’s another choice coming to all of us soon. It’s known as an election. Best of luck with it babe xoxox.”
Charity leaders’ concerns
In making her comments around rough sleeping Braverman said she wanted the government to criminalise the use of tents by people sleeping rough.
Crisis is one of 15 homelessness organisations to tell the home secretary in an open letter that her proposals would lead to “totally preventable” street deaths.
“Sleeping on the street is not a lifestyle choice. Laying blame with people forced to sleep rough will only push people further away from help into poverty, putting them at risk of exploitation,” said their letter to Braverman.
Supporting the letter is Charlotte Talbott, chief executive of homelessness charity Emmaus UK.
“Though rough sleeping is dangerous and should have no place in society, and a home is a basic human right, demonising people living on the streets and hampering humane support is damaging,” she said.
“Instead, the government should focus on addressing the causes of homelessness.”
Crisis has welcomed the government’s decision not to include Braverman's controversial proposal in this week’s King’s Speech, which outlines ministers’ plans over the next year.
“We did it,” said the charity. “The hugely damaging proposal to criminalise the use of tents by people sleeping rough DID NOT feature in the King’s Speech”.
It added: “We’re going to be keeping the pressure on and making sure this hugely damaging law doesn’t return.”