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Big Issue vendors laud ‘lifeline’ from interactive subscriptions map

Customers can now directly support their local vendor by searching for them on the new map and buying a magazine subscription

Anthony Okuyedi

Big Issue vendors have shared their hope that a new interactive subscriptions map will help them survive through the continuing Covid-19 pandemic.

Vendors in England are currently unable to sell the magazine due to the lockdown restrictions, while those in Scotland and Wales are facing quieter streets.

But through the new map, customers will be able to put money directly in the pocket of their regular vendor when they buy a subscription for themselves or as a gift. Fifty per cent of net proceeds from all subscriptions bought this way will go direct to the vendor chosen by the customer.

London vendor Anthony Okuyedi, 60, said the innovation was good news both to help him through the immediate crisis and to boost his longer-term income.

“I think it is a very good idea to let customers subscribe to help individual vendors, I know I have been having conversations with my customers about it. And it’s not just helpful in lockdown, because sometimes we get customers that leave the area or change jobs and we lose those customers along the way,” he said.

Buy a subscription from Anthony

Anthony [pictured above] sells the magazine outside South Kensington station in London, so is currently following government guidance to stay indoors.

“Every little bit helps to get me through lockdown, I’m just keeping my head down in my hostel and hoping that the lockdown ends on time,” he added. “Hopefully, everybody is safe and well and I want to thank my customers because they’ve helped me to pursue my dream as an artist. That’s really helped me a lot in that respect.”

Rebeca
Rebeca-vendor
Big Issue vendor Rebeca

Rebeca Marin, 23, sells The Big Issue at the Tamworth Street Boots in Lichfield. She uses her income from her work as a vendor to support her two young children and has developed “something like a friendship” with her regular customers.

“I’ve been selling The Big issue for two or three years. I like to do it because I like to have chats with my customers. It’s hard to be away from them because every week they are there. They are some company,” she said.

Rebeca is another of the more than 1,000 vendors currently unable to sell The Big Issue on her pitch. “I’m sad because I don’t have any job to work. So it’s hard,” she added.

Buy a subscription from Rebeca

She too hopes to see some income from the new subscriptions map: “I have a few customers that I think maybe they will do it. Maybe they will see it on the website to help me. It would be very helpful at the moment. It would be like a lifeline.”

Florian Schian, 52, sells the magazine outside the WH Smith in Walsall. He agreed that the new subscriptions site comes at a time when it is very much needed by vendors.

“I’m finding it hard at the moment in lockdown,” he said. “The new way to subscribe will be a big help.”

Buy a subscription from Florian

If you would like to buy a subscription through any nominated vendor please go to our map. You can search for your vendor by their pitch location or by clicking on the interactive map.

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.
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