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How The Big Issue is creating opportunities for even more people in 2021

From a simple response to an emerging crisis, The Big Issue’s Ride Out Recession Alliance has continued to stand against poverty in the Covid-19 pandemic – that will not change in our 30th year

The Big Issue is committed to helping keep the UK in their jobs and in their homes through the pandemic and beyond. Register for our jobs and training programme to get free training, regular careers advice and access to hundreds of thousands of  job listings. Sign up here.

Last year, as the Covid crisis first gripped the country, The Big Issue launched the Ride Out Recession Alliance. While furlough measures helped millions of people, it was clear they wouldn’t help everybody. And we decided to do something about that.

Early figures suggested that more than 400,000 households were at risk of homelessness. As employment security was crumbling and jobs were being lost, finding enough money to keep a roof over your head was increasingly tough for far too many.

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At The Big Issue, we did not want to see a generation lost to homelessness, with the life-battering, mental health-hammering changes that brings to those who go through it, to the families and to society. Our focused work for 29 years had been for our vendors, the men and women on the edge, those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. We worked to find ways to help them help themselves. We offered a hand up.

Covid made it clear another set of people were at high risk. People who, through no fault of their own, risked losing jobs and the security and lives those jobs delivered.

The majority of these were in retail or hospitality, affecting the lowest-paid and those who probably had least savings or safety net. The Ride Out Recession Alliance (RORA) was formed as a gathering of businesses, third-sector groups, unions, homeless organisations and individuals who committed to finding a way to keep people in their homes and keep them in work.

Our collective voice helped extend the rent eviction moratorium in England. It allowed those most at risk due to the financial fallout to be heard. Now it is the time to refocus. We want to directly help people who have recently lost their job, or who feel they are in danger. At such times the future can seem dark.

And so this week we launch RORA Jobs and Training, a one-stop shop to help people get back on their feet. We have teamed up with leading jobs board Adzuna and online training organisation FutureLearn to create the RORA Toolkit, an action plan to help those dealing with all that unemployment brings.

The RORA toolkit includes a free three-month digital subscription to The Big Issue, a weekly newsletter with tips on job hunting, access to free or discounted training, including a 20 per cent discount on selected courses with FutureLearn.

And on The Big Issue Jobs site, people will also be able to search through hundreds of thousands of jobs for the right role and access tips and advice on how to land your next position.

We will also provide information and tips that will prove invaluable in searching for, and getting ready for, a new job.

Lord John Bird, founder of The Big Issue, said: “We set up RORA to aid and abet the Government and society to prevent mass homelessness caused by Covid-19 poverty. Talking about what is happening to the newly unemployed is no longer enough.

“Now, with the RORA Toolkit, we have an action plan to directly benefit those who are dealing with unemployment. Because we appreciate that things are tough right now, we want to help those facing unemployment with discounted and free training and thousands of job opportunities, all in one place.

“As an employer using our Toolkit, you will know that your roles are reaching all parts of society, ensuring the ability to recruit for social kindness. As a candidate, you will know that you have access to jobs, advice, skills and training that meet your needs for today and for the future.”

We do not want to see people left behind. We can make a difference now.

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