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Big Issue vendors seal transfer to Southampton FC

The Saints have got a new flat back four after employment programme graduates secure jobs at the club

Southampton FC vendors

Southampton FC have announced four new signings today after Big Issue vendors secured jobs at the club.

Gary Jackson, June Fullerton and Julie Cherry all completed an employability programme at Saints Foundation, the Premier League club’s official charity, and will take up starting roles at the stewarding department at St Mary’s Stadium.

Fellow vendor Aaron New also completed a Level 1 accreditation in customer service as well as CV writing workshops and mock interviews to gain employment in Halo conferences and events at the club.

The move is the latest development in the partnership between Southampton and The Big Issue who teamed up in August for unique, first-of-its-kind edition matchday programme.

The special edition Big Issue magazine was sold across Hampshire in the days leading up to Saints’ Premier League opener against Swansea City as well as being sold by vendors on the day.

First-team stars Oriol Romeu, Manolo Gabbiadini, Nathan Redmond and Florin Gardos also joined vendors on the streets of Winchester to sell the magazine.

The unique partnership even attracted the attention of the BBC Match of the Day cameras.

But the work has continued beyond last August with an employability programme that aimed to equip vendors, and other adults from the south coast area, with job-ready skills, and secure them work placements across Southampton Football Club.

Gary, who was unemployed for 18 months before he secured work with The Big Issue, said: “Southampton Football Club and Saints Foundation have given me the inspiration and emotional support to completely change my outlook on life. I’ve began to believe in myself again, and I’ve been inspired to always do my best.”

Gary Jackson Southampton FC
Gary-Jackson-Southampton-FC
Big Issue vendor Gary Jackson has taken up a role as a Steward at St Mary's

Big Issue MD, Russell Blackman, said: “We’ve enjoyed working with Saints Foundation from the get go. They share our ethos of giving a hand up, not a handout to the most vulnerable in society, supporting those whose lives have been blighted by poverty and a lack of opportunity.

“The news that Gary, June, Julie and Aaron have impressed the team at the Foundation so much that they have secured permanent positions at the grounds is fantastic. We are not only proud and pleased for the vendors, but very grateful to Saints Foundation for their ongoing commitment as part of our strategic partnership. They do invaluable work supporting adults across the community, tackling social exclusion and raising aspirations and our values sit closely side by side.

“We are delighted with how it has all gone and are looking forward to seeing our partnership with Saints Foundation go from strength to strength to further our mission to dismantle poverty through the creation of opportunity.”

Greg Baker, Head of Saints Foundation, added: “We are really proud to have worked with The Big Issue across the course of the 2017/18 season. From the launch of our world-first matchday magazine in August, and throughout the subsequent employability programme delivered for Big Issue vendors at St Mary’s Stadium, it has been clear that the values and objectives of the two organisations align perfectly.

“It is also fantastic that, after really embracing the opportunity that the employability programme provided, Gary, Julie, June and Aaron were able to gain well-deserved employment within the club. Well done to all of them on that great achievement.

“It’s been a really exciting and fruitful partnership so far, and we look forward to maintaining and growing our relationship with The Big Issue for many years to come.”

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