Advertisement - Content continues below
Activism

Labour’s Jess Phillips takes on Big Issue sell-off challenge

Phillips admitted that she “felt invisible” after spending an hour on the pitch

Labour MP Jess Phillips has taken to the streets to get a taste of life as a Big Issue vendor.

The Birmingham Yardley politician joined Big Issue vendor Michael Hadley, 25, on his pitch on Piccadilly Arcade in the second city on April 26 to experience the challenges of selling the magazine first-hand. Phillips admitted that she “felt invisible” after spending an hour on the pitch, selling two copies of the magazine.

“It was a good experience and the sun was shining throughout,” said Phillips, who was first elected to the Birmingham Yardley constituency in 2013. “I managed to sell two magazines – the first person I sold to had no idea who I was but I think the second one knew that I was an MP.

“Michael was very nice and he gave me a few tips on how to sell, which was very helpful.”

Phillips, who featured in The Big Issue’s Letter To My Younger Self section in February, admitted that the eye-opening experience has changed her perspective on the challenges involved in selling the magazine.

“After the experience, I’ll always buy The Big Issue. I know a lot of people walk past vendors – I have done it in the past – and I will make sure, as a politician, that I will do all I can for people on the streets,” said Phillips.

Advertisement - Content continues below
Advertisement - Content continues below

“I found it to be a fascinating experience to see how people ignore you and how you can feel invisible. I felt a lot of people were looking away from me.

“Selling the magazine first-hand showed me the challenges that people face and the level of independence that they get when they are doing something gainful with their life like this.”

Big Issue West Midlands team leader Jon Hyde said: “It was a pleasure to have Jess sell the magazine as she really engaged with the vendor and got stuck in to the whole process without any pretension.

“I’d like to thank her for taking time out of her busy work and family life to sell the magazine and it was certainly interesting that Jess felt invisible while wearing the tabard, I hope it was an enlightening experience for her.”

Advertisement - Content continues below

Support us today

Over the last 30 years, your contributions have been vital in providing opportunities for those facing poverty by giving them a hand up, not a hand out. Support us to help thousands more. Buy a copy from your local vendor, donate or subscribe online today.

Recommended for you

Read All
Insulate Britain defends protests and says 'conventional activism' has failed
Activism

Insulate Britain defends protests and says 'conventional activism' has failed

How Occupy London turned a Big Issue seller into the Lord of St Paul's
Activism

How Occupy London turned a Big Issue seller into the Lord of St Paul's

It's been 10 years since the Occupy protests. What did they achieve?
Activism

It's been 10 years since the Occupy protests. What did they achieve?

How to find volunteer work in your local area this Christmas
Activism

How to find volunteer work in your local area this Christmas

Most Popular

Read All
'What kidnappers do' - DWP forcing universal credit claimants to pose for photo with daily paper
1.

'What kidnappers do' - DWP forcing universal credit claimants to pose for photo with daily paper

The problems with BT's £50m 888 app to protect women on their way home
2.

The problems with BT's £50m 888 app to protect women on their way home

Why England's rivers are so polluted and will be for years to come
3.

Why England's rivers are so polluted and will be for years to come

Universal credit: What is it and why does the £20 cut matter?
4.

Universal credit: What is it and why does the £20 cut matter?