About The Big Issue Foundation
Our vision is to create opportunities that will end poverty and exclusion for Big Issue vendors. Our mission is to connect Big Issue vendors to the vital support and specialist services that enable them to rebuild their lives and determine their own pathways to a better future.
The Big Issue was launched in 1991 by Gordon Roddick and John Bird in response to the growing number of rough sleepers on the streets of London. The two believed that the key to solving the problem of homelessness lay in helping people to help themselves. Vendors buy their magazines with their own money and sell them at their own profit or loss.
To complement the self-help ethos of The Big Issue Magazine, The Big Issue Foundation was established in 1995 to link vendors with the vital support and services which help them address the issues that led to and have arisen as a result of their experiences.
What we do
The Big Issue Foundation supports vendors to achieve financial stability through their magazine sales whilst helping them to overcome social exclusions that have previously held them back. We achieve this through a model of Service Brokerage.
Our frontline workers – Service Brokers – are trained to accurately identify the needs of a Big Issue vendor and provide expert information, advice and guidance best able to address these needs. They do this by accessing local services, maintaining support networks and preventing Big Issue vendors falling through the gaps in society across nine core areas:
- Personal sales goals – Big Issue vendors are supported to achieve and exceed personal sales goals
- Finance – Big Issue vendors are supported to improve their budgeting skills, manage their money, open bank accounts and address any underlying debt issues.
- Housing – Big Issue vendors are supported to access safe and secure accommodation and prevented future homelessness through ongoing support.
- Obtaining ID – Big Issue Vendors are supported to gain official ID which facilitates registering for many services including obtaining a bank account.
- Health and wellbeing – Big Issue vendors are supported to register with a GP, access dental treatment, mental health and other specialist health services.
- Addiction treatment – Big Issue vendors struggling with substance misuse are supported to access and remain engaged with addiction treatment programmes.
- Employment – Big Issue vendors are supported to explore career opportunities by helping vendors recognise transferable skills, update their CVs, search and apply for jobs and with interview coaching.
- Education – Big Issue vendors are supported to add to their skill set and pursue aspirations through further education and training opportunities.
- Personal aspirations – Big Issue vendors were supported to reconnect with family and achieve other personal aspirations.
Additionally, as a group we deliver change-making programmes and meaningful opportunities to make a difference to the lives of Big Issue vendors and emerging groups of vulnerable people. These activities focus on wellbeing, skills, employment, social mobility and service accessibility.
We also have a national Vendor Support Fund which is available on application to vendors throughout the UK. The fund aims to give a small hand up to vendors with a specific objective in mind. Vendors save and contribute a percentage towards the cost of the item required. We grant the additional cost from our donated funds to help make the idea a reality.
We also facilitate a Vendor Savings Scheme which aims to foster a saving culture amongst Big Issue vendors. It is not designed to replace bank/credit union accounts but instead encourages vendors to budget and change their mindset to move away from hand-to-mouth living.
Our Supporter Promise
In recent years we’ve been able to deliver real change on a bigger scale, but only because of the generosity of our supporters. Without you we simply wouldn’t be able to help Big Issue vendors across the UK. Your trust is vital to us and why we’re committed to being fully transparent and accountable to you.
Our Supporter Promise below clearly outlines our guarantee to you when you choose to support The Big Issue Foundation.
- We will always respect your privacy. We will only communicate with you in the way you ask us to. You can change your mind at any time.
- We will always protect your data. Your data is safe with us. We will never sell your details or swap them with any other organisation; and we will always collect and use your data in accordance with Data Protection laws.
- We will always be transparent and honest with you. If we face challenges or make a mistake we will let you know; we are always learning.
- We are accountable and responsible. We abide by the rules of the Fundraising Regulator and are honest, respectful and accountable to our supporters and beneficiaries.
- We will share stories of how your support is helping to create hope and transform lives for the better.
- We are dedicated to supporter care. We always love to hear from you and appreciated all comments and feedback. You help shape our work.