About

From an award-winning magazine offering employment opportunities to people in poverty, to a multi-million pound social investment business supporting enterprise to drive social change. For over 25 years The Big Issue Group has strived to dismantle poverty through creating opportunity, in the process becoming one of the most recognised and trusted brands in the UK.

The Big Issue

Our mission is to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity, through self-help, social trading and business solutions.

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. Twenty-five years on, our vendors come from a variety of backgrounds and face the myriad of problems associated with poverty and inequality.

Vendors buy The Big Issue for £1.25 and sell it for £2.50, meaning each seller is working, not begging

Vendors buy The Big Issue magazine for £1.25 and sell it for £2.50, meaning each seller is a micro-entrepreneur who is working, not begging. Therefore it is vitally important that buyers take their copy of the magazine when they pay for it.

In 2016, The Big Issue sold its 200 millionth copy, celebrated its 25th anniversary and launched The Big Issue Shop, a fully customised online platform committed to selling products with a social echo.

More than 200 million copies of the magazine sold
92,000 people have sold The Big Issue
In the past 25 years vendors have earned £115 million
3700 new vendors walk through our doors every year

Since 1991, the magazine has helped over 92,000 vendors earn £115 million. There are currently around 1500 vendors, and last year alone we helped them to earn a total of £5.5 million. Currently the magazine is read by an estimated 379,195 people across the UK and circulates 82,294 copies every week.

The Big Issue is an award-winning publication, which has challenged and shaped public perceptions and inspired over 120 similar magazines in 35 countries worldwide.


Big Issue Invest

Founded in 2005, Big Issue Invest extends The Big Issue’s mission to dismantle poverty through creating opportunity by financing the growth of sustainable social enterprises and charities across the UK.

We are the UK’s first ‘Social Merchant Bank,’ by social entrepreneurs, for social entrepreneurs. Big Issue Invest currently manages or advises on £150 million of social funds.

Big Issue Invest offers social enterprises, charities and profit-with- purpose businesses, loansand investment from £20,000 to £3 million. Since 2005, we have invested in approximately 300 social enterprises and charities, all of which have positively influenced the lives of an estimated 1 million people across the UK.

Big Issue Invest currently manages or advises on £150 million of social funds

With the UK Social Bond Fund, in partnership with Columbia Threadneedle, we are seeking to bring the mainstream to social investment. This is the first social investment fund offering daily liquidity and has raised over £100 million as of January 2017.

Big Issue Invest has invested £30 million across 300 social enterprises
Directly benefitting 1.8 million people and creating 3200 jobs

Big Issue Invest is also helping to pave the way for 2.7 million social housing tenants to potentially improve their credit files, by partnering with Experian on The Rental Exchange.

Our goal is to continue supporting organisations that are seeking to dismantle poverty through creating opportunity for people and communities across the UK. The capital raised by Big Issue Invest is mainly from private sources and not from sales of the magazine.

For further information about the work of Big Issue Invest please visit our website.

Big Issue Invest


The Big Issue Foundation

Founded in 1995, The Big Issue Foundation is an independently funded registered charity, which works exclusively with the Big Issue vendors, connecting them to the vital support they need to enable them to rebuild their lives and determine their own pathways to a better future.

The Big Issue Foundation addresses the fundamental issues attached to social and financial exclusion

Working in areas such as employment, training, education and learning, health care, housing, and personal development, The Big Issue Foundation seeks to deliver positive outcomes by supporting vendors to access the appropriate service and support to meet their individual needs.

The Big Issue Foundation addresses the fundamental issues attached to social and financial exclusion by working with individuals who have made the first step towards working themselves out of poverty through selling the magazine.

The charity focuses on boosting self-esteem and helping vendors to reclaim their citizenship in order to deliver brighter futures. To raise money for its work, The Big Issue Foundation holds many flagship fundraising events such as The Big London Night Walk, The Big Sleep Out and the London to Paris Cycle Challenge.

Last year TBIF helped Big Issue vendors achieve 5,800 positive steps forward in their lives
Over the past 10 years TBIF has achieved 40,000 positive outcomes for vendors

Last year we recorded the achievements of over 2,000 vendors, focusing on programmes of work that seek to establish financial stability and inclusion. The financial journey of each vendor creates the building blocks of success in terms of further socially orientated objectives, the catalyst for personal change and an escape from the poverty of each person’s situation.

For further information about the work of The Big Issue Foundation please visit our website.

The Big Issue Foundation


The Big Issue Shop

The Big Issue Shop is the latest addition to The Big Issue network. 

Our aim is to offer a platform for social trading that will make ethical and social shopping a truly accessible option for consumers, giving them the opportunity to use their spending power to make a positive difference to the world they live in.  We sell our own products as well as products from other social businesses – organisations that put people and planet first.  

Every product that trades on our site will have a ‘Social Echo’ to it. This means that every time an item is purchased on The Big Issue Shop it will create a positive social outcome through an exchange with the consumer. For example this could be a bag produced with eco-friendly materials, the proceeds of which give former street children a home and an education.

If you are an organisation that is interested in selling on our shop and can demonstrate that through the trading of goods and/or services your organisation is having a positive outcome for society and/or the environment, then please contact shop@bigissue.com

To view our products please visit our website.

The Big Issue Shop