Big Issue Vendor

The Big Issue needs your help supporting vendors through the new lockdown

A second English lockdown has forced more than 1,000 vendors out of work, so The Big Issue needs your help now more than ever

The new lockdown measures in England have meant The Big Issue has asked more than half its 2,000 vendors to temporarily stop selling the magazine to keep both sellers and customers safe.

When the UK locked down in March, The Big Issue was able to give financial and emotional support to vendors thanks to the generosity of the public. And we will support sellers through the next four difficult weeks. Frontline teams will continue to stay in contact with vendors, providing reassurance as well as gift payments and supermarket vouchers to reduce the impact of lost income.

But such support for vendors is almost impossible without the help of readers. You can support The Big Christmas Appeal by making a one-off or regular donation, or by subscribing in print or digital for three, six or 12 months to show your support for vulnerable people this Christmas.

Martin McKenzie, who sells the magazine on Stroud Green Road in London, said: “It’s soul-crushing. I’ve been doing everything carefully and safely and yet I’ll pay a high price for this lockdown. And I like being out here mingling with people, I don’t like sitting on my own. 

“I’m still trying to work out other ways of pulling in money,” continued the 39-year-old, who also runs a mobile bike repair business in London. “I’ve got a few reassurances from customers that they’ll keep me in mind whenever something goes wrong with their bikes during the lockdown.”

Vendors in Scotland will continue to sell the magazine as normal for the time being while sellers in Wales will return to the streets when the current “firebreak” lockdown ends next week.

“The upcoming English winter lockdown is going to hit a lot of people hard,” said editor Paul McNamee. “At The Big Issue, we are taking our vendors off the streets. It means that some 1,000 men and women will lose their income. This is difficult at any time of year. In the cold winter period its bite will be much stronger.

“During the spring lockdown, we were able to get money and support to our vendors thanks to donations and subscriptions bought by the brilliant and generous people of Britain. And now, we need to ask again. We have launched our Urgent Christmas Appeal. By subscribing to The Big Issue or donating you will help us help our vendors, and help us stick around. We are going to be needed so much again when the lockdown eases.

“As a proud organisation we at The Big Issue have stood independently for nearly 30 years, providing those right on the margins of society with a means to earn and work their way back to society. But just now we need a bit of help to help those who need us.

“Subscribe – and you will get a magazine every week, a digital edition or both – or donate. We’ll get through this with you.”

The support given earlier in 2020 meant The Big Issue could help vendors who had lost their incomes overnight and had lost other jobs too, were facing the five-week wait for their first Universal Credit payment, or had pets to care for.

“We haven’t taken this decision lightly, it is based on keeping our vendors and customers safe and well, which is of the utmost importance to us as an organisation,” said Lord John Bird, founder of The Big Issue.

“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. 

“Please subscribe or make a donation to The Big Christmas Appeal, to enable us to be there for our vendors, both now and in the future.”