News

Vendor Garry gives his thoughts on Edinburgh Book Festival homelessness talk

Garry thought the Val McDermid-led event could make some improvements

Garry Buchan

Edinburgh’s festivals are in full swing, so The Big Issue sent Glasgow vendor Garry Buchan to review an Edinburgh Book Festival event led by crime novelist Val McDermid.

The ‘What does homelessness mean?’ discussion explored topics like rough sleeping and hidden homelessness including sofa surfing and living in cars.

McDermid was joined by geographer Danny Dorling, sociologist Geetha Marcus and award-winning poet Joelle Taylor.

Giving his verdict, Garry said: “The poet was wonderful and everyone contributed something interesting.”

However he felt that the event was otherwise a little overly academic, with lots of figures and statistics.

“The only real shame was that there was no Q&A. I would have loads of questions to ask about why the government isn’t fixing homelessness and what more we can do.”

After nearly three weeks supporting vendors working at the festival, Edinburgh outreach worker Susanne Flynn explained that vendors have been making the most of the chance to sell the magazine at the event – they have been sharing a pitch at the festival’s only entrance. Some have been set up with contactless card readers.

She added: “People are responding really well to the vendors and lots of visitors were stopping to chat to them while they sold the magazine.

“The vendors seem to be really enjoying it which is great.”

Garry previously made headlines for completing a mammoth walking journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats, raising more than £4,000 for The Big Issue Foundation.

And last year he was hailed for saving a woman caught in a moped accident from obtaining any further injury by using his rucksack to protect her.

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.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
From the NHS to levelling up: Here are all the broken promises after 14 years of Tory rule
General Election 2024

From the NHS to levelling up: Here are all the broken promises after 14 years of Tory rule

'Nature is slowly healing': How rewilding is bringing Britain's extinct species back from the dead
Conservation

'Nature is slowly healing': How rewilding is bringing Britain's extinct species back from the dead

Beat the Streets music festival funds new homes for rough sleepers: 'If we could do more, we would'
Homelessness

Beat the Streets music festival funds new homes for rough sleepers: 'If we could do more, we would'

Energy bills are set to fall but UK families have already lost £72bn to 'staggering' prices
energy bills
Energy bills

Energy bills are set to fall but UK families have already lost £72bn to 'staggering' prices

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know