Prior to the coronavirus lockdown, The Big Issue took the tough decision to safeguard our network of vendors by asking that they temporarily stop selling on streets across the whole of the UK. It has meant an immediate loss of income for the 1,500 vendors dotted around the country. Together, we’ll face big challenges in the already uncertain months ahead.
But as well as concern for their livelihoods, our vendors tell us they miss one thing in particular: their customers. Selling the magazine put many people at the heart of their communities and now, like many of us, they feel isolated as well as concerned for the wellbeing of the people who bought the magazine from them every week.
That’s why we want you, our readers, to send us your messages of support for the hard-working people who are the lifeblood of The Big Issue.
And, as we all turn to using Facetime to check in on the family family and chatting to colleagues on camera, we especially want your video messages. Reader Bethan Davies has already taken time to send warm wishes to her local vendor, Glyn, and his dog Chloe who work outside Waitrose in Bath.
I've made a video too! pic.twitter.com/JgTJS41Rwp
— Bethan Davies (@bethaned) March 31, 2020
Friend of The Big Issue Chris Packham did his bit, urging his followers to take out a three-month subscription to The Big Issue and shouting out the vendors who still need your support, now more than ever.
#Covid19 is devastating for @BigIssue vendors , who rely on selling the magazine . That's why I'm supporting @BigIssue's campaign . You can support in one of two ways , subscribe for 3 months, or give a one-off payment. Please go to https://t.co/YZdAFBIhdv pic.twitter.com/VyaIDsu4AP
— Chris Packham (@ChrisGPackham) March 25, 2020
And here, author and editor Johnny Mains recalls a time in his life when The Big Issue helped him help himself. He knows there are people across the country who still need that vital support, and urges everyone who can to take out a subscription or make a donation.
— JOHNNY MAINS (@ohsinnerman) March 31, 2020
Folk singer-songwriter and political activist Grace Petrie knows the score too. She has been making her way through an A-Z of covers while on lockdown, but wants fans to divert the financial support they would give to her to The Big Issue.
— Grace Petrie (@gracepetrie) March 31, 2020
Legendary film producer and broadcaster Armando Iannucci gets it too. Here’s his plea to those in a position to do so to get behind The Big Issue and its vendors:
— Armando Iannucci (@Aiannucci) March 30, 2020
Lord John Bird, founder of The Big Issue, said: “Coronavirus is an unprecedented threat to public health. Our sellers, many of whom are homeless and rough sleeping, are already highly vulnerable and it is only right that we make this difficult decision to protect their welfare at this critical time.”
Bird added that it was vital that the public support The Big Issue at this critical time through as we battle to keep afloat through the Covid-19 shutdown.
“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.
So go on, send us your messages for the vendors who need your support right now, or better yet get in front of the camera to do it. You can send them to email@example.com, or on Twitter @BigIssue, Facebook or Instagram @bigissueuk. We move forward together.