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Big Issue vendor stories are on display in a Bath museum

The exhibition, held at the Museum of Bath at Work, has already been visited by the Mayor and well-known local vendors

The Museum of Bath at Work is giving visitors a taste of a day life in the life of a Big Issue vendor.

The special exhibition opened on 5 April and will run until 1 September. It is the biggest ever held in the museum. The collection consists of audio, photos and video and features the work of Bath photographer Felicity McMahon.

Organiser of the exhibition and Big Issue service broker Geo Leonard said: “For me it’s like stepping into the high street, the exhibition is so colourful. The interviews were all conducted outside so you can hear all the everyday life sounds.”

Also showing at the exhibition is a video for vendors – and by vendors – offering advice on how to sell the magazine.

Vendors’ stories take centre stage at the museum, detailing how they came to sell The Big Issue and how the role has changed their lives.

Organisers hope the exhibition will highlight the hard work put in by Big Issue vendors to making a profit without begging. Leonard added: “I hope people can get a better idea of the ups and downs of selling on the streets. They’ve got the hardest job in the world.

“They’re working against a lot of prejudices that people have about those on the streets and those that sell The Big Issue.”

The Mayor of Bath, Patrick Anketell-Jones, and his wife visited the exhibition in its first few days. Adie Jones was the first of Bath’s local vendors to visit the exhibit.

Bath was the second ever city in the UK to sell The Big Issue when it spread from London in 1991. Leonard said: “The overwhelming theme from the pictures and audio is that vendors really value the connection they get with the wider community.”

The Museum of Bath at Work is open 10.30am until 5pm seven days a week and entry costs £8 for adults, £7 for concessions and £5 for children.

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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.
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