Comedian Jo Brand is encouraging everyone to truly embrace the season of goodwill next month, and hold a Christmas party for charity.
Crisis, the national charity for single homeless people is the charity in question, and the popular comic and actress is helping them call on families, offices, schools and community groups to host a festive party with a difference from December 8-14, raising money to support its work with homeless people across the UK.
“I would like to think that the vast majority of people in this country have strong feelings about seeing people homeless, particularly at this time of year. It’s just an appalling thing,” she said.
Jo, who is best known for her stand up shows as well as her Bafta Award-winning BBC sitcom, Getting On, has been working with Crisis for many years, after she was asked to do a gig at the charity’s main centre in London.
“That was interesting,” she laughed. “But I’ve kept in touch with them ever since and really just tell them to tell me where I can be of the best use to them - whether that’s by wearing a bikini or whatever.
“I have slept out on the street for a charity thing and it opened my eyes. It was February and it was really cold, but we were somewhere relatively safe. It just appals me to think that there are young women or vulnerable kids facing the sort of terrors and dangers that are on the streets.
“I just hope that people can identify with those feelings and offer as much support as possible. And it’s not that hard to have a party is it? It’s not like we’re asking people to run 200 miles with no shoes on. Karaoke is always a good laugh, or with the popularity of Bake Off, people always like a bit of cake.”
Earlier this month, Hairy Biker, Si King help the launch the Newcastle leg of the campaign by hosting a special dinner with Crisis clients and staff to celebrate the charity’s work in the city.
He said: “Nothing says Christmas like getting people round the table for a good meal, but for a lot of the people Crisis works with it can be a really tough time of year. Putting on a seasonal spread for everybody is my chance to bring some Christmas cheer to people who might otherwise miss out.
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “Being homeless is a cold, miserable experience and never more so than in Christmas party season when most of us are sharing in the warmth of family and friends. By dedicating your Christmas party to Crisis, you could help someone access vital support and the chance to make a fresh start in the year ahead.”
For more information and to find out how your Christmas party could benefit Crisis, visit www.crisis.org.uk