The Big Issue magazine launched in 1991 in response to the growing number of rough sleepers on the streets of London, by offering people the opportunity to earn a legitimate income through selling a magazine to the public.
Vendors come from a variety of backgrounds and face the myriad of problems associated with poverty and inequality. They buy The Big Issue magazine for GBP£1.25 (USD $1.50) and sell it for £2.50 ($3.00), meaning each seller is a micro-entrepreneur who is working, not begging.
As a result of the Covid-19 crisis, for the first time since launch, the foundation has had to ask its vendors to stop selling the magazine for their own health and safety. But the organisation moved quickly to adapt its business model in new and innovative ways, to offer a level of support to its vendors through this crisis. They have done this through an appeal to support the organisation: selling subscriptions, digital copies or generous financial contributions. Of the money raised through the appeal, 50 per cent of net proceeds will go to supporting vendors and 50 per cent will go To the Big Issue to ensure it continues to be around for those in need.
With the support raised, frontline teams are now working around the clock, to make contact, assess and support over 2,000 vendors with their financial and emotional needs. The organisation helps vendors in the following ways:
- Through a mass dispersal of supermarket vouchers as an immediate response.
- It has paid to top up electric and gas keys where needed in order to keep vendors warm and fed
- Working to provide ongoing social and emotional support at this challenging and lonely time. For many vendors this is an incredibly lonely time and they miss their customers and the daily interactions and relationships.
- A key part of its work is helping vendors to understand and access all of the support services available to them at this time, such as access to universal credit.
For the foreseeable future, you can now support The Big Issue organisation in the following ways:
- Or you can donate here.
If you would like to subscribe on behalf of your staff, or find out more about how businesses can support The Big Issue, both during this crisis and beyond, please email email@example.com.
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