The Big Issue was launched in 1991 in response to the growing number of rough sleepers on the streets, and over 25 years later we still provide homeless people and those at risk of becoming homeless the opportunity to work their way out of poverty.
Since the magazine was founded, we have been in partnership with the people who sell it. Vendors buy The Big Issue for £1.25 and sell it for £2.50. Each seller is a micro-entrepreneur who is working, not begging. We have helped over 92,000 vendors, some of the most vulnerable people in the country, earn over £115 million in the last 25 years. Currently there are around 1500 vendors up and down the UK who last year alone earned a total of £5.5 million through selling the magazine.
The Big Issue sells more than 83,000 copies every week and has a readership of almost 400,000.
So The Big Issue costs £2.50 but collective sales gives a great boost to those often marginalised by society. Our vendors come from a variety of backgrounds and face the myriad of problems associated with poverty and inequality. Selling the magazine generates vital income for them, but more than that, it helps build their self-esteem and teaches them new skills, through interacting with members of the public. This can often be the first step towards them being secure enough to tackle their personal problems, or helping them go on to find other jobs.
In 2016, The Big Issue sold its 200 millionth copy, celebrated its 25th anniversary and launched The Big Issue Shop, a fully customised online platform committed to selling products with a social echo. If you are looking for a back issue, or perhaps you do not have a vendor in your area, magazines can be bought from the shop, which helps support the work we do with Big Issue vendors across the country.
The Big Issue is an award-winning publication, which has challenged and shaped public perceptions and inspired over 120 similar magazines in 35 countries worldwide.
A great read and a great deed – buy The Big Issue from your local vendor today!