• Special anniversary edition: 25 years of a publishing revolution

Special anniversary edition: 25 years of a publishing revolution

Issue 1227

Special anniversary edition: 25 years of a publishing revolution

25 years ago John Bird set the ball rolling. So in this week’s Big Issue we’re going to celebrate a generation of change…

PM Theresa May salutes The Big Issue and unveils a new homelessness funding package and a change of policy approach. Are we claiming an influence? Well, she says, “Just like The Big Issue, I also believe in the power of prevention… I believe it’s time we changed our approach. We need to put prevention at the heart of a new approach.” We’ll claim it.

There is an array of other names from across politics, music, the arts and business saluting The Big Issue and talking about what it means to them. They include Nicola Sturgeon, Sadiq Khan, Leanne Woods, Daniel Radcliffe, Andy Murray, Julie Walters, Christopher Eccleston, Benjamin Zephaniah, the Dalai Lama, Paul Weller and many more. There is also a film coming on Monday featuring these folk and others, all talking Big Issue. It’s soundtracked by violin virtuoso Nicola Benedetti and the RSNO performing a very special rendition of Happy Birthday.

The story of the birth of the Big Issue – the early wonderful chaos that lead to so much – has never really been told. Peter Ross has gathered together those who were there and delivers a brilliant, blistering, heart-lifting must-read.

The guvnor John Bird reflects on 25 years gone and looks to what will come next. A focus on literacy is going to be a major cornerstone for us. It’s fundamental.

“I’m sure the Daily Mail would be happy to know they facilitated my sexual fetish,” says Grayson Perry. A big birthday special needs a big Letter To My Younger Self. This one is a cracker. Get ready…

We bring stories of the successes of many of our ex-vendors who moved on to establish great new businesses of their own – from Harley Street therapists to chefs, kids books illustrators and charity bosses.

There is a cake, of course, baked by the good people at Rise bakery, a fantastic organisation who help provide training and opportunity for homeless trainees. Our own version of Hollywood and Berry, vendors Graham and Paul from central London, taste the result. No soggy bottoms. So to speak.

Our featured vendor this week is Donato Barbieri. He is 70 and has been selling for a number of months. Life has thrown a lot at him, but, he says, “The Big Issue gave an old man a sense of purpose again.” Which is a fitting way to round off this edition, I think.