Big names are backing The Big Issue by subscribing – follow their lead

Caitlin Moran, Armando Iannucci and Andrew Neil are just some of the celebrities who have supported vendors after we were forced to temporarily stop selling the magazine on the streets

The Big Issue is facing uncertain times, which is why we have put out the plea for your help – and, so far, the response has been incredible with stars like Radiohead star Ed O’Brien, The Specials and Chris Packham answering our urgent call for subscriptions.

The coronavirus pandemic means that we have had to make the difficult decision to stop selling The Big Issue magazine on the streets to protect vendors’ health.

We need 60,000 people to subscribe so we can continue to do what we have done for the last 29 years: help vendors with a hand up, not a hand out.

Friend of The Big Issue Packham shared a video pleading with his followers to subscribe to The Big Issue. The wildlife campaigner said: “In my opinion, there are a few things that make Britain great. The NHS, of course, is one of those and I would argue that the BBC, great, impartial broadcasting is another. The RSPCA is a great institution that has been looking after animals for a very long time.

“But there is another: The Big Issue. The Big Issue is absolutely brilliant, giving people the opportunity to make an income and also providing us with top quality journalism.

“Only I’m afraid to say that as of Monday, the 1,500 vendors who make their living from The Big Issue are quite clearly off the streets and in trouble. So I am appealing with you to help them.”

He added: “I’m going to subscribe because I always buy The Big Issue and I always enjoy what I read.”

Even suffering with symptoms that he believes show he has the coronavirus has not put off Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien from sharing The Big Issue’s plight with his supporters.

He’s not the only musician to make a noise about giving The Big Issue his support. Ska legends The Specials, who reenacted the video to their iconic single Ghost Town with The Big Issue last year, have also urged their fans to subscribe.

Caitlin Moran, Armando Iannucci and Andrew Neil kicked off the star-studded subscriptions drive at the weekend. Comics star Mark Millar also gave our plea his backing, as did Trainspotting scribe Irvine Welsh and the BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg.

After the weekend rush of support, more big names have been backing The Big Issue as the week has unfolded.

Social housing titan George Clarke led the way while there has been a smattering of support from the world of politics with Labour’s Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough MP Gill Furniss, former Scottish First Minister Lord Jack McConnell and Edinburgh South West MP Joanna Cherry QC all tweeting their support.

Livingston MP Hannah Bardell has done the same as has Lib Dem Wera Hobhouse, who also supported The Big Issue this week by co-sponsoring Lord John Bird’s Future Generations Bill in the House of Commons.

The celebrity support continued late into the week with former Ready Steady Cook host Ainsley Harriott sharing his support as did four-piece band Glass Animals.

And that has been just the tip of the iceberg with scores more new readers turning to The Big Issue.

You don’t need to be a celebrity to get involved. For the foreseeable future, you can support us and vendors in these three ways, please give what you can:

As The Big Issue founder John Bird puts it: “In the coming months, 29 years of trade and support of The Big Issue for vendors will come under critical threat. Our income comes from street sales. We are one of the only social business that operates exclusively on the streets, where the crisis of homelessness is most manifest.

“Now more than ever, we need your support. Our income comes from street sales and without our vendors on the streets we cannot support those people that really need us now and in the future.”