The Big Issue has launched its first podcast today, focusing on the relationships between vendors and their customers.
Big Issue vendors cannot currently sell the magazine on UK streets due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but The Big Miss You Podcast provides a virtual street corner where readers can interact with their local vendors.
“The relationship between vendors and their customers is the bedrock upon which The Big Issue is built. Over years friendships grow and nurture, unbreakable bonds gather, memories are formed,” said Big Issue Editor Paul McNamee.
“During the lockdown The Big Issue has been able to get money and provisions to so many of our vendors – thanks to the incredible generosity of so many people. But one thing we couldn’t replace was that bedrock bond and relationship. Until now.
“The Big Miss You Podcast is a way of allowing messages and greetings, kind words and sad ‘I miss you’s to be exchanged. It’s imperfect; it can’t replace the thrill of catching up with a friend. But in this time of removal from each other, I’m proud that this is here. I’m also proud that our first Big Issue podcast is one that has our brilliant vendors at its core.
“It’s a hell of an emotional thing.”
He added: “Thanks to Laura Kelly for producing this so brilliantly, and to Liam Geraghty for helping put it together.”
The Big Miss You Podcast host and producer Laura Kelly said: “It’s brilliant to see how Big Issue fans have rallied round to snap up their subscriptions, and for the first time buy copies of the magazine in supermarkets and newsagents. I’ve been really moved to read the stories about how that money is supporting vendors.
“But The Big Issue is not just about offering financial support. It is also about human connections and the friendships between vendors and their regular customers.
“Podcasts are a really intimate way to communicate and The Big Miss You Podcast is a celebration of the relationships that are at the very heart of The Big Issue.”
The first episode of the weekly podcast takes listeners to Lincoln High Street, where vendor Richie can usually be found selling the magazine outside the Marks and Spencer.
His friend Tom Bridger, an actor from Lincoln and regular weekly customer, wrote to The Big Issue to tell us about how much he was missing having the chance to sit down for a cup of tea with Richie.
In an emotional conversation, Richie told the podcast about how much that message meant to him. “I miss all of my customers really badly,” he said. “Yeah, [The Big Issue] is just a magazine. But it’s not just a magazine, it’s my whole world. I just can’t wait to get back to work.”
“He’s a very inspirational person, for me personally,” said Tom, who was inspired to write in to Richie after seeing him featured in the Vendor’s View section of the magazine. “He’s always trying to help out people who are local as well.”
The Big Miss You Podcast will come out every Thursday.
Episode one is available from tomorrow on Apple, Spotify, Acast, and all good podcast platforms. Hit the subscribe button on your platform of choice to make sure you are the first to get new episodes.
If you are a reader or a vendor and would like to send your own message through The Big Miss You Podcast, please get in touch.