News

Big Issue vendor Dave Martin reunited with Prince William as royal launches plan to end homelessness

The London Big Issue seller gave Prince William’s Homewards project his backing, saying: “He’s a good guy and I hope he gets all the support for his pet project”

Big Issue vendor Dave Martin and Prince William

Big Issue vendor Dave Martin and Prince William came face to face once again a year after Martin had showed the future king the ropes when he sold The Big Issue magazine. Image: The Royal Foundation

Big Issue vendor Dave Martin has given Prince William’s plan to end homelessness his backing after the pair were reunited one year on from the royal’s stint selling the magazine.

Martin, 61, welcomed the Prince of Wales to his pitch in Central London last year as the future king donned the iconic red Big Issue tabard.

The pair were brought back together on Monday as Prince William unveiled Lambeth, South London, as the first of six locations in the Royal Foundation’s Homewards project.

The five-year programme is the prince’s attempt to show that homelessness can be ended and the launch at the Brixton’s Mosaic Clubhouse brought him back together with Martin.

Prince William launches Homewards
Prince William admitted ending homelessness is a “big task” as he launched his Homewards project. Image: The Royal Foundation

“He’s a man of his word, that’s how I find him,” said Martin, who sells The Big Issue at London Victoria Station and Tesco in Hammersmith. “He’s a genuine guy who is really passionate about it. Getting the council, local charities and businesses together, I think that’s a good scheme myself.

“When I interviewed him he said he wants to be hands-on and it’s a personal thing to him, and when he said he was going to come round to my pitch he was true to his word. That was a small thing but why shouldn’t people get on his side and support him? 

“I know genuine people when I see them – and I meet a lot of people. He’s a good guy and I hope he gets all the support for his pet project.”

Prince William had earlier thanked Martin for sharing his story and giving an insight into his life selling The Big Issue magazine during a speech at Homewards’ Lambeth launch.

Get the latest news and insight into how the Big Issue magazine is made by signing up for the Inside Big Issue newsletter

“My first visit to a homelessness shelter was when I was 11 with my mother. The visits we made left a deep and lasting impression,” said Prince William.

“I met so many extraordinary people and listened to so many heartbreaking personal stories. Too many people have found themselves without a stable and permanent place to call home.

“Through these visits, I have seen first-hand the breadth and complexities of homelessness. A personal thank you to people such as Dave Martin, who is here today and who gave me an induction in selling The Big Issue last summer.”

Prince William is currently on a tour around Homewards’ six flagship locations and followed up his visit to Lambeth with trips to Bournemouth, Dorset, and Newport in South Wales. The remaining three locations will be revealed once the prince has visited them.

Locally led coalitions will be set up at each location to bring together individuals, organisations and businesses who will work together to create a tailored plan to prevent homelessness in their areas.

Prince William launches Homewards
The launch in Lambeth is the first of six locations which the prince will be visiting as he kicks off the Homewards project. Image: The Royal Foundation

The Homewards programme will give each location access to a network of experts, partners and funders to bring new ideas and further investment to tackle homelessness, alongside £500,000 of flexible seed funding to support the delivery of the action plan.

Each location will also be supported to deliver a housing project that will test new ways to unlock homes at scale.

Your support changes lives. Find out how you can help us help more people by signing up for a subscription

It is hoped the five-year project will create a model for preventing homelessness that can be applied to the rest of the country.

Do you have a story to tell or opinions to share about this? We want to hear from you. Get in touch and tell us more.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
FOSO is the new FOMO: Why are we so afraid to switch off and be out of office?
Work

FOSO is the new FOMO: Why are we so afraid to switch off and be out of office?

Almost no recorded cases of disability benefit fraud despite DWP crackdown: 'PIP fraud is a non-issue'
dwp pip/ disabled person
Disability benefits

Almost no recorded cases of disability benefit fraud despite DWP crackdown: 'PIP fraud is a non-issue'

Deaf man awarded £50,000 after 'oppressive' and 'discriminatory' treatment by DWP
dwp jobcentre
Department for Work and Pensions

Deaf man awarded £50,000 after 'oppressive' and 'discriminatory' treatment by DWP

Green transition: Help retrain gas workers or risk 'cliff edge' job losses, government warned
Green transition

Green transition: Help retrain gas workers or risk 'cliff edge' job losses, government warned

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know