Health

Big Issue partners with Mencap for special edition put together by people with learning disabilities

Mencap Myth Busters have taken over the Big Issue magazine for Learning Disability Week. Here's what happened when they came to the office to create the content

Mencap Myth Busters cam into the Image: Andy Parsons

This week’s Big Issue is unlike any other we have ever produced. This magazine has been created, in association with Mencap, by people with learning disabilities to help illustrate what they go through, to celebrate their vital place in society and present an edition from their perspective as they wanted it built.

At Big Issue, we provide a platform and opportunity for people frequently marginalised or easily quietened by others in society. And this is an example of that writ large.

Big Issue senior reporter Isabella McRae with Mencap’s Janelle Butterfield. Image: Andy Parsons

The theme for this year’s Learning Disability Week is Do You See Me? It is, says Mencap, all about being seen, heard and valued. You will read stories in here from across the spectrum of disability. It has been a privilege to work on this magazine and to reach a greater understanding of the vital work that Mencap, and other support organisations, do, quietly, daily, to allow lives to be lived richly.

As part of this edition, we also asked how we should change the physical look of Big Issue to make it more accessible to those with learning disabilities. A team of Mencap Myth Busters came into our London office in May and schooled us. From colours to typeface and size, this is a magazine recreated. We wanted to make sure that those with learning disabilities could interact with the magazine effortlessly.

Thanks is due particularly to Big Issue team members Isabella McRae, Steven MacKenzie and Mark Neil, who have brought Big Issue focus. But more, thanks really goes to the Mencap-assembled team who have shone a glorious light on a part of society rarely accommodated in the mainstream press. This is a magazine for all.

Aisha Edwards: “I want people to learn about all the Myth Busters and what they can do.”Image: Andy Parsons
Jessica-Jane Applegate: “I’m super excited to be part of this takeover. It’s been amazing
to be involved and I’ve had a great day learning about all sorts of different issues.”
Image: Andy Parsons
George Webster: “I’m so excited to be working with Big Issue and Mencap. It’s so fun and it’s really important to have this representation, because we’re all different. This needs to be celebrated and this will help people get to know us.” Image: Andy Parsons

Do you have a story to tell or opinions to share about this? Get in touch and tell us moreBig Issue exists to give homeless and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income. To support our work buy a copy of the magazine or get the app from the App Store or Google Play.

Support your local Big Issue vendor

If you can’t get to your local vendor every week, subscribing directly to them online is the best way to support your vendor. Your chosen vendor will receive 50% of the profit from each copy and the rest is invested back into our work to create opportunities for people affected by poverty.
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