Big Issue vendor Shane is planning a social enterprise to support live music

The Nottingham seller has spent the lockdown training himself to build a website that aims to connect venues, artists and gig fans as the industry recovers from Covid-19 destruction

Nottingham vendor Shane has been busy since he was forced to stop selling the magazine in March and has stepped up his efforts to build a social enterprise that will support live music’s post-Covid-19 recovery.

The £5.2 bn-generating industry has been decimated by the pandemic with the Music Venues Trust calling for a £50m rescue package and a reduction on VAT for future ticket sales to prevent even more venues closing their doors.

Live music is close to Shane’s heart, playing a vital role in helping him with his mental health struggles. The 38-year-old, who normally sells the magazine at Clumber Street in Nottingham and penned an article for The Big Issue in April about his journey through homelessness with his dogs, has spent the lockdown setting up a website to help venues, artists and music fans to arrange and promote concerts.

Shane has been using money that he has set aside from his time selling the magazine to purchase a domain name, server space and online security, and has been taking various courses to train himself in web design.

But his efforts have only got him so far and he told The Big Issue that he needs extra outside help to get his idea off the ground.

He said: “The plan is to create a social enterprise based around a website that will work very much like a social networking site for venues and musicians of all music genres around the country and maybe even the world one day.

“Inside the website itself I have thought of a new way of creating a search engine so it will shortlist musicians that are able to perform on any select date and will work like a process of elimination. The website will also let people find music venues and find out what is available on any given night depending on their particular taste.

“What I want to do is run a rewards-based donations system so the website will be free for anyone to use but if they enjoy the site and find what I’m trying to do useful, they will then have the option to make a small donation and the money raised from that will go into a large funding pool for venues, charities and even artists themselves to apply for a piece of that money when they are struggling.

“It’s artists helping artists as well as the community. I hope that money will help boost the economy again for live music venues and help struggling artists get seen and get a leg up as well.”

Now Shane is appealing for help to raise the funds he needs to bring collaborators in to the project so he can play a role in music’s recovery post-pandemic.

That is why he has launched a GoFundMe campaign with a £15,000 goal. Shane hopes his efforts will allow music to continue to play an important role in both his life and the lives of others.

“Covid-19 means it is a way off for a lot of venues to open their doors while others have had to close for good,” Shane added. “I find music has been a real help with my mental health and I know a lot of people use it in the same way to ease emotional and psychological problems. Having an outlet like live music really does help keep people’s spirits up and I believe it is healthy. I’d like to try and support the recovery of the live music industry.”

You can donate to Shane’s GoFundMe campaign here.