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The big freeze – how Big Issue Shop brands tackle homelessness all year round

All our suppliers in The Big Issue Shop have a social echo, and this winter you can help those tackling homelessness (and buy great products) when you ‘shop social’

Winter and the inevitable accompanying cold snap always brings with it a spotlight on homelessness and the plight of rough sleepers.

There are a whole host of people and socially-conscious firms seeking to tackle homelessness in its many guises throughout the year, not just in winter; charities giving a voice to the often-forgotten sofa surfers and hostel-dwellers of the UK, organisations seeking to make renting fairer, and of course, The Big Issue, offering a hand up not a handout.

Here are just a few social enterprises whose products helping to change lives through the Big Issue Shop:

JOLLIE’S

Launched in 2012 by social entrepreneur, Ed Vickers, the “more-than-profit” enterprise is about creating fun and tangible opportunities to support local homeless charities and care for those facing life on the streets. For every pair of their stylish and brightly coloured cotton Jollie socks sold, a pair of hardy hiking socks are donated to a homeless charity in your local area.

But it doesn’t stop there. In November 2017, Vickers went one step further and moved on from his existing distribution model to bring production in-house, offering life-changing apprenticeships for men and women who are currently homeless and new job opportunities to develop their skills, rebuild their lives and rejoin the workforce.

Speaking about the new initiative, Ed said: “While we were seeing some real impact in the socks we were donating through the company, there was so much more we could be doing to meet the real needs within the homeless community.

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“Providing apprenticeships and having those currently living homeless become part of key operations, gives a greater opportunity to bring more lasting change.”

CHANGE PLEASE

Also helping to create meaningful employment, Big Issue-backed Change Please changed the way thousands of people across London looked at their everyday cup of coffee. The pioneering social enterprise trains homeless people as Change Please baristas so they can sell fresh coffee from mobile carts on high streets. Baristas receive a full London living wage and spend six months on their cart, which helps them learn valuable skills to move onto full time work with partner programmes.

Since its launch in November 2015, Change Please has helped 35 formerly homeless people transform their lives. As well as bagging the Consumer Facing Social Enterprise of the Year at the Social Enterprise UK Awards, the poverty-busting coffee is now available in more than 300 Sainsbury’s stores across the country. With three unique blends, hand-selected from their Change Please baristas.

HOPEFUL TRADERS

On top of boasting organic and ethically manufactured clothing by Fair Wear suppliers, Hopeful traders work with artists who have been affected by social issues like homelessness to create designs for their clothing range, with each sale contributing cash to homeless charities chosen by the collaborator, as well as raising money for themselves.

Founder Charlie Wright said: “I decided to start Hopeful Traders as a response to the ever-present issue of homelessness that surrounds you in a city like London. I was aware of the creativity within the community, and knew that talents could flourish given the opportunity.”

The collaborations so far have raised over £4,000 for charities including The Simon Community, Single Homeless Project and Homeless World Cup and over £5,000 for the artists themselves.

THE BIG ISSUE

From The Big Issue magazine to The Big Issue Foundation, Big Issue Invest and of course, The Big Issue Shop, we’ve been giving a hand up not a handout for over 25 years.

Our social investment arm, Big Issue Invest has spent over 10 years investing in social enterprises and charities seeking to dismantle poverty and create opportunity for people across the UK and The Big Issue Shop celebrates another year of bringing you shopping with a social echo. Whether it’s our very own Street Art, #WEARABIGISSUE hoodies and T-shirts or our best cover prints – everything you buy from The Big Issue Shop is helping someone somewhere with a hand up, not a handout.

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Support The Big Issue Winter Appeal

Big Issue vendors can’t work from home and with severe weather warnings on the cards, they face a very tough and uncertain Winter period ahead.

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