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Sophie Winkleman: ‘We need to prevent the next generation of homelessness’

The TV star got in touch with the Big Issue’s founder John Bird asking how she could help

Actress Sophie Winkleman has spoken out about the need to “prevent the next generation of homelessness” by doing more to tackle child poverty

The TV star has just become a Big Issue Brand Ambassador, working alongside Christopher Eccleston, George Clarke and Daniel Mays to urge the public to support vulnerable vendors who can no longer sell the magazine during lockdown.

Writing in this week’s magazine, Winkleman says she contacted Big Issue founder John Bird to ask how she could support the Big Issue alongside her other work with disadvantaged kids.

“We agreed that there are links between The Big Issue and all the children’s charities I work with, which are mainly trying to help kids living in really difficult circumstances,” she writes. 

“Because they are, in some ways, working to prevent the next generation of homelessness. 

“We see children in very difficult homes, whether it is because of poverty or abuse or addiction, and so often this can result in homelessness.” 

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Winkleman writes she had always bought The Big Issue, which she says is in the country’s ‘‘lifeblood’, and would even get it shipped over when she lived in the US. 

“I have always bought The Big Issue. I think I was 15 when I first started spending my money on it. I read about it and did a project on it for school,” she adds. 

“Years later, when I moved to Los Angeles, my mum would send it every week – it reminded me of London, of home.”

England’s strict new national lockdown means more than 1,000 vendors can no longer sell the award-winning weekly magazine on the streets. 

But the public are being encouraged to support vendors by subscribing, buying a gift subscription from your local vendor, or donating to an urgent Christmas Appeal.

Winkleman writes: “When the first lockdown happened, and vendors couldn’t sell the magazine on the street, I sent round a massive email to about 500 people saying The Big Issue is in danger because of the situation, asking them to consider subscribing – because I would subscribe even if it wasn’t for such a good cause. 

“It is such a brilliant magazine – intelligent, witty, thought-provoking and profound, full of integrity and authenticity.

“So this Christmas, I will be asking people not to give a box of chocolates or a candle, but get your loved ones a subscription to The Big Issue. 

“It’s the greatest gift you could give – a brilliant magazine that also happens to help the best possible cause there is.” 

Read more from Winkleman in this week’s Big Issue, available through our online shop and from your local vendor now

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Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

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