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Here's how The Big Issue has supported vendors as they return on April 12

Thanks to the public's generosity, we've been able to support 2,111 vendors, giving out a total of £1,062,000 since the start of the first lockdown

Vendors of The Big Issue mark the return of the magazine being sold, by meeting at St Martins in the Fields on Trafalgar Square, where the first-ever edition of the magazine was officially launched nearly 30 years ago. Image credit: David Parry/PA Wire

Vendors of The Big Issue mark the return of the magazine being sold, by meeting at St Martins in the Fields on Trafalgar Square, where the first-ever edition of the magazine was officially launched nearly 30 years ago. Image credit: David Parry/PA Wire

Big Issue vendors in England and Wales will be back out on their pitches from April 12, followed a couple of weeks later by their colleagues in Scotland. 

It’s been a challenging year. Following repeated lockdowns across the UK nations, many have been stuck inside, unable to work and without an income. 

The Big Issue had to turn its 30-year tried and tested motto of “a hand up, not a handout” on its head and get support to vulnerable vendors who needed it the most.

Usually, when vendors can sell, they buy magazines for £1.50 and sell to the public for £3, keeping the difference. This allows them to earn a legitimate income. 

Thanks to the public’s generosity, we’ve been able to support 2,111 vendors, giving out a total of £1,062,000 since the start of the first lockdown. 

In March alone, we have been there for vendors with assistance worth £55,770. 

This includes supermarket vouchers, help with rent and bills and personal protective equipment (PPE). In total, The Big Issue has provided £142,455 worth of PPE to keep both vendors and the public safe when they are out and able to sell the magazine. 

On top of this, we’ve provided: 

  • A washing machine replacement for a vendor and their children
  • A freezer for a vendor who recently gained custody of his son
  • Laptops for training courses including GCSEs and writing sci-fi stories
  • Clothing and toiletries
  • A replacement bed for a vendor
  • Curtains and a vacuum cleaner for a vendor who moved into a new home
  • Baby essentials– nappies, formula and wipes
  • Help with vet bills and pet food
  • Bike repairs

Lord John Bird, founder of The Big Issue said: “We are full of pride and hope that, after over 22 weeks of being in lockdown, our vendors are back out there, able to reconnect with their local communities and earn a legitimate income once again.

“As ever, we wish to thank all those who have so generously supported us and our vendors during this challenging time. Every donation and subscription that has been made or taken out, has meant that we have been able to support vendors while they have been unable to sell the magazine safely on the streets. 

“Please look out for your local vendor back on their pitch from today. We would encourage anyone who doesn’t have a local vendor and wants to support our mission to help people in poverty improve their lives to buy a subscription to the magazine.  We’ve have missed you all and we are so pleased to be back.”

As the NHS vaccination programme continues apace, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he hopes this will be the last lockdown. 

Vendors are raring to go and hope they won’t be forced off their pitches again, but they still need you to get out and buy from them if you can. 

You can find your local vendor using our online 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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