Culture

"They’ve got enough toasters": Russell Brand's Harry and Meghan wedding gift

The comedian has launched a petition to find a home for Windsor rough sleepers in the wake of council leader Simon Dudley’s plans to move them on the big day

Russell Brand and Big Issue vendors

Russell Brand has promised Prince Harry and Meghan Markle a royal wedding gift with a difference – a permanent home for the homeless people threatened with being displaced by the big day.

The comedian has launched a petition to ask Slough Council to approve a ‘change of use’ building regulation in the town, providing a new base for homeless charity Slough Homeless Our Concern (SHOC).

The building sits just two miles down the road from where the couple will tie the knot at Windsor Castle on May 13.

Brand’s campaign is a firm rebuttal to Windsor council leader Simon Dudley’s idea to remove rough sleepers from the city for the ceremony.

The councillor claimed the sight of homeless people on the streets paints Windsor in an “unfavourable light” and referred to an “epidemic of rough sleeping and vagrancy” in a letter to Thames Valley police and crime commissioner Anthony Stansfeld last month.

SHOC would be willing to provide a home for Windsor’s rough sleepers, according to the Recovery author.

And Brand, who donned a Big Issue tabard last year as he met vendors to discuss addiction and recovery, has already attracted a swell of support with the petition powering past 15,000 signatures inside 24 hours.

“With the gut-wrenching irony that only 2018 can provide, SHOC themselves are now being made homeless by Slough Council, meaning the vulnerable clients that depend on them will be in even more trouble,” he said.

“Many of the rough sleepers swept out of Windsor as a result of Councillor Simon Dudley’s proposed economic cleanse in preparation of Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle will need SHOC and other local facilities to care for them.

“As a wedding present for Harry and Meghan and as a rebuke to the low-frequency conduct of Councillor Dudley and any who would further victimise the vulnerable, we are asking that Slough Council agree to a ‘change of use’ for a building in the town to enable SHOC to have a new home.”

Brand’s petition can be supported here.

The Big Issue also has a suggestion for a wedding gift – the chance for Prince Harry and Meghan to publish their photos from the big day in the magazine.

And we’re not the only ones. Crowdfunder campaign IncWedible is planning to throw a party for homeless people from all across the UK.

But Brand suggests that backing his campaign is the ideal way to mark the marriage.

“It will cost them nothing but the ink in the pen to commit to a ‘change of use’ for this building – you know how easy it is to do that – councils have to do it every time they turn an old office block to luxury flats,” he said.

“If you think this would be a great gift for the royal couple, a beautiful way to celebrate their love, then sign this petition.

“This is the perfect way to ensure that love and community trump selfishness and profit as well as being the perfect wedding present for a cool couple. Let’s face it, what else can we give them? They must have enough toasters.”

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
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