Opinion

The quiet, good people will be our safety net

We launched The Big Issue Changemakers at a very different time, writes editor Paul McNamee. It now feels like these great unsung heroes and heroines are everywhere amongst us.

A white net on a black background

Image credit: Oberazzi/Flickr

We launched The Big Issue Changemakers at a very different time. Two years ago, it was a way of celebrating the under-celebrated. We decided to shine a torch on those whose frequently unheralded work was making the place better for everybody.

It now feels like these great unsung heroes and heroines are everywhere amongst us. They come like the shoemaker’s elves. When we feel all hope is gone, with a quiet, unseen calm hand they stitch things together and ask no reward.

It was essential to change the Changemakers, for this year. This list is not just a look at those who will change what comes, because the truth is that it’s incredibly difficult to predict. Events all around present from a parallax view.

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This year, while those with plans for the coming months feature, we focus more on a celebration of those who helped when Covid gripped, and we seek to learn from what they did.

How to settle on just 100? It’s an almost impossible task. And certainly, you will know of people or grassroots organisations who could easily join the 100. You may also feel like shouting out for teachers, or for freight drivers and delivery people, those who keep the wheels turning, those to whom we never gave a second thought when all was functioning properly, but now we understand as vital. Tell us. Send in your nominees and we shall celebrate them too.

I never believed in facile soundbites about sunny uplands coming this year. Such things are easy to say but impossible to deliver.

Instead, I believe that the invisible network of good people quietly going about their business because of their concern for others will ultimately be our safety net. And then it’ll help us move to something better.

We will go on. We must go on. Together we stand.

Paul McNamee is editor of The Big Issue

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