BIG ISSUE NATIONAL VENDOR WEEK
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How does The Big Issue help homeless people?

From an award-winning magazine to investment in sustainable social enterprises, The Big Issue has been dismantling poverty through opportunity for more than 30 years

Big Issue Winter Support Kit launch at Christmas

(From left to right) Daisy Hampson, Big Issue frontline worker, Jon Gregg, Big Issue vendor, Lord John Bird, founder of the Big Issue, Kelvin Gregory, Big Issue vendor, Daniel Mays, actor and Big Issue Ambassador and Leventica Paun, Big Issue frontline worker at the launch of Big Issue's Christmas campaign. Image: Louise Haywood-Schiefer

For more than 30 years, Big Issue Group has strived to dismantle poverty through creating opportunity, in the process becoming one of the most recognised and trusted publishing brands in the UK.

But it’s not all about our award-winning magazine. We offer employment opportunities to people in poverty, have a multi-million pound social investment business supporting enterprises to drive social change, and support social shopping and ethical trade through our online shop.

Here are all the ways in which the Big Issue Group helps people experiencing homelessness in the UK.

Change a Big Issue vendor’s life this Christmas by purchasing a Winter Support Kit. You’ll receive four copies of the magazine and create a brighter future for our vendors through Christmas and beyond.

The Big Issue

The Big Issue magazine launched in 1991 in response to the growing number of rough sleepers on the streets of London, by offering people the opportunity to earn a legitimate income through selling a magazine to the public.

Now more than 30 years on, our vendors come from a variety of backgrounds and face the myriad of problems associated with poverty and inequality. They buy the magazine for £2 each and sell it on for £4 – making each seller a micro-entrepreneur in their own right. For our bumper Christmas magazines the price of the magazine is £4.50, offering vendors the chance to earn an extra 25p for each magazine sold. It’s important that you take your copy of the magazine when you buy it because our vendors are working not begging.

The award-winning magazine sold its 200 millionth copy in 2016 and the Big Issue’s work continues to be vital to support vendors during the cost of living crisis. In 2022 alone, we worked with 10% more vendors than in the previous year with 2.22 million magazines sold and vendors collectively earning £3.76 million. Out of 3,637 vendors, 899 sold the Big Issue for the first time in 2022.

Big Issue Invest

Established in 2005, Big Issue Invest supports sustainable businesses and charities to deliver social, economic and environmental impact across the UK. 

In 2022, 138 social enterprises were supported with investments with £37.5m in current investments and available for new investments.

The charities and social enterprises Big Issue Invest worked with more than two million people in 2022.

For information on how Big Issue Invest’s social investments help organisations around the UK tackle poverty, head here.

Big Issue Recruit

Launched in September 2022, Big Issue Recruit supports people facing barriers to employment back into sustainable work.

Big Issue Recruit aims to bring people from a more diverse range of backgrounds into the jobs market to meet the urgent need for an upskilled workforce.

It is a person-centred service and free to candidates, supporting individuals pre, during and post-employment.

Candidates who sign up are partnered with a personal Job Coach to understand their needs and goals, build confidence, skills and resilience and coach them through the selection process to secure their desired roles.

Job Coaches will continue to work with candidates post placement to help them thrive in their new role.

To sign up for support or browse job opportunities on the Big Issue Recruit jobs board, head here.

Big Issue Shop

The Big Issue Shop is an online store that gives you the chance to indulge in guilt-free retail therapy with a range of products that put people and planet first with ethical shopping.

The aim is to offer a platform for social-trading that makes ethical shopping a truly accessible option, giving you the opportunity to use your spending power to make a positive difference to the world we live in.

Use your spending power for good with the Big Issue Shop because every purchase has a social echo, meaning your purchase will create a positive outcome somewhere across the world. 

As well as offering the chance to catch up on any back issues of the magazine or our limited edition art wrapping paper at Christmas, the Big Issue Shop offers the opportunity to buy products that fund vital work around the world.

From recycled cement bags from Elephant Branded turned into stylish laptop sleeves funding fuel sustainable work in developing countries, to the award-winning From Babies with Love, which donates all profits to orphaned and abandoned children around the world.

National Vendor Week 2024

A celebration of people who are working their way out of poverty.
Vendor martin Hawes

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