The most remarkable thing is that we’re still here.
When the shutters were brought down in March, the future of The Big Issue was immediately uncertain. For almost 30 years we had been a street magazine. While other titles became less reliant on paper sales, we remained proudly of paper, and of the street. We were successful in providing a means for the most marginalised to work their way back from poverty and from the edge.
But how do you do that if there is no street? How do you help, and how do you stay around so that when you are needed later you are ready?
Support The Big Issue and our vendors by signing up for a subscription
With pace, focus and remarkable steel. The change that everybody at The Big Issue delivered still astounds me and fills me with pride. We changed utterly. We moved, in a heartbeat, to become a subscription-based publisher. We went into shops. We built an app and sorted out things digitally. We launched a podcast that allowed our vendors to speak to their customers and their customers to them. We had a remarkable raffle with money-can’t-buy prizes.
We were up, we were out, and you had our back. I knew then we’d get through it. Thank you
And we became, for a time, a handout rather than a hand up organisation. This is anathema to our DNA. But there was no choice. We had to. We supported our vendors with nearly £700,000 in cash, or vouchers, or whatever they needed.