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More people are getting a hand up from Big Issue as the cost-of-living crisis bites

The last year has seen a 10% increase in the number of people becoming a Big Issue seller, while magazine sales have also risen dramatically

Ian Duff and his new dog, Trigger, on their pitch

Big Issue Vendor Ian Duff in Bath city centre with his new puppy 'Trigger'. Image: Exposure Photo Agency

In this age of uncertainty, one thing can be relied on. If someone is in urgent need of financial support, they can turn to The Big Issue.

New figures show that The Big Issue worked with 3,642 vendors during the last year. That amounts to a ten per cent increase in the number of people selling the magazine. Figures also show that 899 of these individuals were signing-up to sell for the first time.

Vendors who sell The Big Issue magazine are their own mini-enterprises, buying copies for £1.75 and selling them to the public for £4, keeping the difference. This allows them to support themselves and their families, while becoming less reliant on tax-funded benefits.

Thanks to people buying magazines, vendors have been able to earn a staggering amount of money as the cost-of-living crisis continues.

Over 2.2 million magazines were sold in the last year – an incredible 34 per cent year-on-year increase in sales – meaning that £3.76 million went into the pockets of our vendors, who are some of the most marginalised and vulnerable people in the UK.

The economic landscape has indisputably had an impact on the increasing number of people turning to The Big Issue to make ends meet in tough times. There are 14 million people in the UK living in poverty as rent, energy and food prices continue to soar and this latest report on the impact of The Big Issue shows how people experiencing difficulty can benefit from becoming a vendor.

The Big Issue is also helping vendors adapt to changing times. Throughout 2022, 404 vendors were supported by Frontline teams to accept contactless payments as fewer people carry cash. Since our Financial & Digital Inclusion support work started in 2019, 1,319 vendors have been enabled to accept cashless payments.

Big Issue Group has also developed several ventures to support vendors into regular employment. Big Issue Recruit is a person-centred recruitment service, dedicated to supporting people, including vendors, who face barriers into sustainable employment. Job Coaches provide one-to-one dedicated free pre and in-post employment support to candidates.

Mark Richards, a Big Issue vendor from Cardiff, said: “If it wasn’t for Big Issue Recruit I would either be in prison or six feet under the ground. I’m hoping that with their help I will be able to get into full time employment in either hospitality or as a warehouse assistant.”

Today (starting 6 March) marks the start of the first National Vendor Week, celebrating the men and women across the country who are working their way out of poverty. Keep an eye on our social channels for exciting updates over the next few days.

Lord Bird, Founder of the Big Issue, said: “As we celebrate Big Issue National Vendor Week, we are very aware that, right now our work is needed more than ever with spiralling living costs, and continuing increases in poverty and hardship. The cost-of-living crisis has hit those at the very coalface of poverty the hardest.”

National Vendor Week was designed to raise awareness of the work of The Big Issue and vendors who are taking positive steps in their life by selling the magazine. The last year has shown that our work is more important than ever.

More people are relying on us but we can only support them with the backing of our readers. So please, keep buying the magazine weekly from your local vendor. Or if you do not have access to a seller in your area, you can still support our work by taking out a subscription for yourself, a friend or family member.

To support our work buy a copy! If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member.

You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

Support your local Big Issue vendor

If you can’t get to your local vendor every week, subscribing directly to them online is the best way to support your vendor. Your chosen vendor will receive 50% of the profit from each copy and the rest is invested back into our work to create opportunities for people affected by poverty.
Vendor martin Hawes

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Support our vendors with a subscription

For each subscription to the magazine, we’ll provide a vendor with a reusable water bottle, making it easier for them to access cold water on hot days.