The Big Issue is holding the UK’s first social trading conference

Today’s Northampton event will demonstrate “How to Create a Social Echo” in order to combat poverty

The Big Issue will show organisations how to make better choices on spending money to maximise the value of the ‘social pound’ at the UK’s first social trading conference.

Hosted by Big Issue founder Lord John Bird at Northampton’s Guildhall, the day-long event brings together representatives of local businesses, charities, social enterprises and public-sector bodies to create a more vibrant local economy through trade, not aid.

Dubbed ‘How to Create a Social Echo: Strengthening Communities Through Local Trading’, University of Northampton, Northampton Hope, Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce and Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire have joined forces with The Big Issue for the event. It also has the backing of Carlsberg UK, a large business and employer in the Northampton community, Housing Technology, the leading housing magazine for business and IT professionals and the University of Northampton.


The Big Issue has inspired the launch of 120 street papers globally, including sister titles in Australia, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.

In the face of austerity and rising inequality – most keenly felt in the town after the council declared bankruptcy earlier this year – The Big Issue believes that poverty can be dismantled through business solutions.

Now the challenge is how whole communities can come together to build social trading eco-systems that enable communities to flourish.

Lord Bird said: “I hope that local organisations leave today with a sense of empowerment born of the knowledge that, together, we can knit wealth back into the community by changing the way we trade.

“The day has been full of brilliant examples of social trading. The next step will be for these amazing organisations to galvanise forces and build a social trading ecosystem where each player builds off the other creating connections and value. When it comes to trade we need to combine the commercial with the social.”

Nick Petford, Vice Chancellor at the University of Northampton, said: “As a key part of the community the University of Northampton is committed to putting our money where our mouth is by helping create social value through our procurement processes. I am thrilled to be working with The Big Issue for this important conference.”

Image: Hekla Goodman. Left-to-right Tony Knaggs, Goodwill Solutions CIC, Lord John Bird, founder of The Big Issue, Robin Burgess, CEO of Northampton Hope, Nick Petford, Vice Chancellor at the University of Northampton