Stars join The Big Issue in raising awareness of vendor struggles in lockdown

Christopher Eccleston, Sophie Winkleman, Daniel Mays and George Clarke join Sabrina Cohen-Hatton as Brand Ambassadors to raise awareness of The Big Issue's work

The Big Issue has unveiled a star-studded line-up of Brand Ambassadors and called on the public to support vulnerable vendors who can no longer sell the magazine during lockdown. 

Actors Christopher Eccleston, Sophie Winkleman and Daniel Mays, as well as architect and TV presenter George Clarke, are among the celebrities urging people to support the organisation. 

They join Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, the British firefighter, psychologist and writer, who became a Brand Ambassador in 2019 and once sold the magazine as a teenager.

England’s strict new national lockdown mean more than 1,000 vendors can no longer sell the award-winning weekly magazine on the streets. 

But the public are being encouraged to support vendors by subscribing, buying a gift subscription from your local vendor, or donating to an urgent Christmas Appeal.

When vendors can sell, they buy magazines for £1.50 and sell to the public for £3, keeping the difference, providing them with the means to earn a legitimate income.

Christopher Eccleston, who first appeared on the cover of The Big Issue in 1996, said: “I remember when [the magazine] was launched. And to see something like The Big Issue born makes you proud. 

“The first thing I’d like to say as an Ambassador is that if you’ve always supported your vendor, in almost 30 years of The Big Issue’s existence, please continue to do so.

“Because it’s even worse now. And if it’s worse for you, you can only imagine how much worse it is for people living on the streets.”

George Clarke added that becoming an ambassador would be a “lifetime commitment” for him. 

He said: “I’m so honoured to be a Big Issue Brand Ambassador. I wish we did not have the problem with homelessness in this country. I wish The Big Issue was not needed. But we have it. And it is. So I’m all in.” 

Daniel Mays said he was “incredibly humbled” to become a Brand Ambassador. 

He said: “I’m incredibly humbled to be asked to become an Ambassador for The Big Issue and help raise awareness for the incredible work the organisation does for homeless and vulnerable people in the UK.”

Sophie Winkleman added: “I am honoured to come on board as a Big Issue Brand Ambassador. A helping hand should be available to anyone and everyone who finds themselves in the horrific predicament of being homeless.” 

During the first lockdown in march, the Big Issue was able to support vendors due to the generosity of members of the public and businesses. 

A frontline team was on hand to work closely with vendors and offer emotional as well as financial support.

Vendors come from a variety of backgrounds and face a range of issues, but all are experiencing the effects of poverty. Upon becoming a Big Issue vendor they receive training and are allocated a fixed pitch from which to vend.

Since its launch in 1991, over 200 million copies of the magazine have been sold by over 100,000 vulnerable people.

Paul McNamee, Editor of The Big Issue, said: “It’s an absolute privilege to have our Ambassadors shouting from the rooftops for The Big Issue at what is the most challenging time in our history. 

“With the vast majority of our vendors unable to sell, we once again urgently need your support to survive and be there for our vendors beyond Christmas.”