DEMAND AN END TO POVERTY THIS GENERAL ELECTION
TAKE ACTION
News

Big Issue vendor to event promoter: ‘I’m evolving’ says Earl

Former Big Issue vendor Earl Charlton has announced his own poetry evening, which will take place in Newcastle in August.

For many years, Earl Charlton was a beloved Big Issue vendor outside Newcastle Central Station.

Selling the magazine allowed Earl to turn his life around, escaping a cycle of homelessness and addiction. His story has inspired many, including chart-topping musician Sam Fender, who said “everybody in the country” should hear Earl talk about his life.

Now, thanks to a new poetry night run by Earl, people in the north east of England will have the chance to take Fender’s advice. The inspirational former Big Issue vendor will be among those performing at the event.

Late last year, Earl started working full time as a support worker with North Shields-based charity North East Homeless.

“It’s been nice, man,” said Earl. “I’m evolving every day. I’ve had 25 years of being on the street and being my own boss selling The Big Issue. I’m adapting.”

North East Homeless offers a range of services for people in the area who are vulnerable or homeless, including street outreach and training programmes.

At the heart of the charity is a vibrant community space called the The Fish Quay Hub, which is open to service users and the general public. It features a café and venue, and a social supermarket run on a ‘take what you need, leave what you can’ basis.

The venue has recently been granted a licence to put on events and, following a successful run of Euro 2020 viewing parties, Earl saw an opportunity to run his own gig.

As a published poet, who has performed his work for live audiences in the past, Earl was keen to make use of the space to bring together an evening of spoken word entertainment.

The event will have a dual purpose, Earl said – both as a fundraiser for North East Homeless and a place for people to share their stories.

“A lot of my life story I put in poetry,” said Earl. “And every spoken word night I’ve been to, they always have a very friendly atmosphere. Everyone’s got their own story.”

Taking place on August 27, Voice Notes Poetry will be free to attend, with guests encouraged to contribute to the charity by buying food and refreshments from the onsite café.

Speak-easy-Night

By bringing people into the The Fish Quay Hub, Earl also hopes to encourage people to access the help that’s available to them in the space.

“I can guarantee, in any audience there’ll be someone screaming for help,” said Earl. “They may not know where to go or who to talk to. If they come to North East Homeless and see what we’re about, they might feel they can talk about their problems and ask for help.”

People who may never previously have needed to access charity support are now struggling in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, he added.

“You don’t have to be homeless to get help here,” said Earl. “We’ve had people coming in who are struggling because they’re on furlough, people who have lost their jobs, people who are embarrassed to access food banks. You have to be referred to food banks but not to our social supermarket.

“If you need some support with debt, drug and alcohol recovery or anything like that, come and see us. North East Homeless is for everyone.”

Voice Notes Poetry: Speak Easy Night takes place at The Fish Quay Hub, 3a3 Northumberland St, North Shields on August 27 at 6pm.

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
'Great pity' major parties are ignoring poverty in election, says Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart
Rory Stewart and Alastair Campbell
General election 2024

'Great pity' major parties are ignoring poverty in election, says Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart

People with learning disabilities need to make their voices heard on election day
Ismail Kaji of Mencap
Learning Disability Week 2024

People with learning disabilities need to make their voices heard on election day

'I want to get out': The fight for people with learning disabilities to live at home – not hospitals
Learning Disability Week 2024

'I want to get out': The fight for people with learning disabilities to live at home – not hospitals

Labour unveils plan to fix rental crisis and immediately axe no-fault evictions
Labour will ban no-fault evictions, confirms Angela Rayner and Keir Starmer
RENTING

Labour unveils plan to fix rental crisis and immediately axe no-fault evictions

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