Scrooge council chiefs have been blasted for threatening to fine a kind-hearted mom after she put up posters inviting lonely people to enjoy a free Christmas dinner.
Mo Fayose, 44, was shocked when she received an email from town hall chiefs accusing her of illegal fly-posting.
She put up the notices around the neighborhood in Basford, Nottingham, inviting people to get in touch with her if they were on their own over the festive season.
The mental health nurse has hosted Christmas dinners for vulnerable and lonely people for the last three years.
She started by opening her home to five guests but the free event is now so popular she hires out two halls to accommodate more than 100 people.
The single mom-of-two and a team of volunteers cook a three-course dinner, complete with crackers and decorations.
She spends the year raising around £3,000 ($3,756 USD) to buy the food and decorations and the cost of hiring the community centers in Basford for the festive lunch.
But when she put up posters for this year’s event, she was stunned when a Nottingham City Council community protection officer ordered her to remove them “immediately”.
Fayose removed the flyers but blasted the council for taking a “heavy handed approach” to her free event.
She said, "The posters are really important; it's the way to get it to those who are not using social media.
“I was really shocked when I got the email telling me I was breaking the law. I just wanted to help people who were on their own at Christmas.
“This was the first time I had received an email like this from the council.
“I started putting up the flyers in November and the council emailed me on December 4.
“The email said, ‘We know what you are doing is good but it is classed as fly-posting’ which is a problem. Therefore I would ask you to take it down otherwise you would be fined.'
“It’s just crazy, it broke me down.
“I put the posters all over Basford so everyone could see them.
“I put it online but not everyone is on social media especially older people who are sometimes the most lonely in our society."
Fayose, who is separated from her husband and lives with her 19-year-old daughter Ebbyy and 15-year-old son Jebediah put on the Christmas dinners three years ago.
She said, "A patient on the ward where I was doing my mental health training told me that they don’t celebrate Christmas because they had no one to spend it with.
“That really got to me and I thought there must be something I can do to help people like this.
"I just thought I would invite people to my home on Christmas Day and make dinner for them.
“I posted an invitation online expecting five or so people to reply but I was amazed when more than 100 people said they'd love to come along.
“I had over 130 people come in 2016 and had to move the lunch to a community center.
“The year after was even more popular and this year we're hiring out two halls of a community center to fit everyone in.
"I just hope enough people saw the poster before I had to take them down. I've had lots of people replying to me but there are still places available.
"I would hate it if anyone missed out and spent the day on their own just because the council ordered me to take them down.
“The lunch is a really happy event and everyone gets on and enjoys eating and celebrating together.
“Through my work as a mental health nurse I know that festive loneliness is real. I just wanted to do my small part in helping people come together.
“We’ve got a lot of food including turkeys, beef, chicken, canapes, Christmas pudding and minces pies and wine.
“It’s become so popular, I’ve not just had people from the local area come but also people from Derby, Mansfield and Scotland come.
"People of all ages come along too, we get young people and elderly people.
"Plus those who find it tough financial at this time of year too.
"This time of year can cause severe loneliness.
“All I wanted to do is just spread the Christmas spirit to those who desperately need it.”
The council have since decided to take no action regarding the posters and deemed the incident a “genuine misunderstanding”.
Nottingham City Councillor Linda Woodings said, "It is a really worthy cause and there has been a genuine misunderstanding.
"The council always promotes the importance of looking after each other and this includes encouraging people to cook a Christmas dinner for neighbors who may be on their own."