Behind the scenes

Inside the Big Issue: Learning Disability Week special edition

This week’s magazine was created in association with Mencap, by people with learning disabilities. Buy a copy from your vendor today!

Inside The Big Issue

At Big Issue, we provide a platform and opportunity for people frequently marginalised or easily quietened by others in society. And this week’s magazine – created in association with Mencap, by people with learning disabilities – is an example of that writ large.

The theme for this year’s Learning Disability Week is Do You See Me? It is, says Mencap, all about being seen, heard and valued. You will read stories in here from across the spectrum of disability. It has been a privilege to work on this magazine and to reach a greater understanding of the vital work that Mencap, and other support organisations, do, quietly, daily, to allow lives to be lived richly.

As part of this edition, we also asked how we should change the physical look of Big Issue to make it more accessible to those with learning disabilities. A team of Mencap Myth Busters came into our London office in May and schooled us. From colours to typeface and size, this is a magazine recreated. We wanted to make sure that those with learning disabilities could interact with the magazine effortlessly.

Find out more in this week’s issue!

What is in this week’s Big Issue?

Dancing in front of Strictly as a kid paid off for CBeebies host George Webster.

“I always wanted to perform, dance, act and sing on stage and screen. When I was a lot younger, I loved putting on mini performances with my sister Lauren in front of my parents, Rob and Jane,” Webster told the Big Issue.

“When I was younger there wasn’t anyone with Down’s syndrome in the media, like books, films and television shows. This was one of the reasons I wanted to become an actor and dancer – to represent people with Down’s syndrome and other disabilities too.”

Jessica-Jane Applegate won Paralympic gold, but her ‘hidden’ disability has put potential sponsors off

Jessica-Jane Applegate is a swimming sensation. Just 16 when she won a gold medal for the UK, she set a Paralympic record for the 200m freestyle in London 2012. Applegate went to the Rio Paralympics four years later, where she won silver and bronze, and Tokyo in 2021, where she won gold in the relay and two bronze medals for freestyle and backstroke. Now, the 27-year-old from Great Yarmouth, who took up swimming at a young age after an autism diagnosis, wants to encourage others to go for their dreams.

Nearly half of UK’s population doesn’t know what a learning disability is, study finds

Around 33 million Brits are unable to correctly classify what a learning disability is, new research from Mencap has found. That is nearly half the population.

Mencap’s research also found that a little more than a quarter of people (27%) said they had been or would feel nervous speaking to someone with a learning disability for the first time. And almost one in five (19%) said they would feel reluctant in talking to someone with a learning disability.

Do you have a story to tell or opinions to share about this? Get in touch and tell us more. Big Issue exists to give homeless and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income. To support our work buy a copy of the magazine or get the app from the App Store or Google Play.

Support your local Big Issue vendor

If you can’t get to your local vendor every week, subscribing directly to them online is the best way to support your vendor. Your chosen vendor will receive 50% of the profit from each copy and the rest is invested back into our work to create opportunities for people affected by poverty.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Inside the Big Issue: Keir Starmer has a job on
Inside the Big Issue

Inside the Big Issue: Keir Starmer has a job on

Inside the Big Issue: Kwajo Tweneboa's home truths for new government
Inside the Big Issue

Inside the Big Issue: Kwajo Tweneboa's home truths for new government

Bridging the health and wellbeing gap for Big Issue vendors
Behind the scenes

Bridging the health and wellbeing gap for Big Issue vendors

Inside the Big Issue: Count Binface says relax!
Inside the Big Issue

Inside the Big Issue: Count Binface says relax!

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know

Support our vendors with a subscription

For each subscription to the magazine, we’ll provide a vendor with a reusable water bottle, making it easier for them to access cold water on hot days.