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#VendorWeek exhibition celebrates The Big Issue and global street papers

The unique, first-of-its-kind exhibition has been organised by the Glasgow-based International Network of Street Papers

Below is Big Issue vendor Paul Younger and his pitch in London – all 360° of it.

A new video will allow you to join him while he sells the magazine. By wearing a virtual reality headset, viewers will feel like they are standing alongside Paul and get a fully immersive look at what selling the magazine is like for our vendors.

The video has been created for UNCOVERED: still homeless, still an issue, an exhibition launched this week in Glasgow to mark #VendorWeek organised by the International Network of Street Papers (INSP) to celebrate the thousands of men and women who get a hand up from selling street papers like The Big Issue. #VendorWeek runs February 6-12.

Also unveiled at UNCOVERED is an installation highlighting one of the sad realities of being a vendor – people often ignore or look away from you. Using facial recognition to detect when someone is approaching, the images of Glasgow vendors Carmen or Calin will look away from the viewer.

The free, first-of-its-kind exhibition also features images of vendors who, although coming from all corners of the world, share the common goal of working their way out of poverty.

#VendorWeek is a great reminder why it is important that you buy your Big Issue

Helping to launch the exhibition at The Lighthouse in Glasgow this week, Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, spoke of the importance of street papers across the world in fighting poverty and highlighted The Big Issue as a leading light in the UK’s social enterprise movement.

#VendorWeek is a great time to go social and a reminder why it is important that you buy your Big Issue,” the SNP MSP told guests.

Maree Aldam, chief executive of INSP, added: “Since the first street paper launched in 1989, our movement has lifted almost 300,000 vendors across the world out of poverty. This exhibition showcases our vendors – telling their stories, and hearing from them about the life changing impact of street papers. The exhibition also showcases the high quality design, passion and hard work involved in the production of street papers.

“We hope that the exhibition gives Glaswegians a sense of the scale and impact of street papers and pride that Glasgow is at the heart of the movement.”

UNCOVERED: still homeless, still an issue runs February 10–April 19 at The Lighthouse, Glasgow.

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Below, we hear from street paper vendors across the globe…

Steve (above) sells The Big Issue in London. “I’ve had my tough times but I’ve got my own mini-business with The Big Issue and that keeps me going. The Big Issue keeps the lights on in more ways than one. It gives me structure and it’s got me back on my feet.”

Michalis (below) sells Shedia in Athens. “Shedia saved my life, saved me psychologically and I stopped thinking about committing suicide. When I sell the paper, people stop and say “kalimera” (good morning) to me. I feel truly proud.”

Wesley sells Hus Forbi in Copenhagen. “The magazine has provided me with a source of income when there has been nothing else and it has given me a lot of fun experiences and friendships.”

Luo Chin Bian (below) sells The Big Issue Taiwan in Taipei. “I try my best. There are no challenges. I always find a solution to overcome it. Since I have a job selling the magazine my temper has become calm. Back in the day, I was very irritable.”

Rachel sells The Big Issue Australia in Sydney. “Words cannot explain how being a Big Issue vendor has changed my life. I’ve had so many mental health issues as an adult but I can finally say that I’m happy 80 per cent of the time, which is pretty cool.”

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

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