Our Big Issue Ambassadors
Our brilliant Big Issue Ambassadors are helping us to get the word out about the vital work we do as a social enterprise whose mission is to create innovative solutions that unlock social and economic opportunities for people trapped in poverty. Read more about our Ambassadors below.
The architect, TV presenter and social housing champion is an active supporter of The Big Issue. On television, shows like Restoration Man, Amazing Spaces and Old House, New Home have made him a national treasure. Clarke first appeared on the front cover of The Big Issue in July 2019. More recently, he has written an exclusive piece about rebuilding Britain with affordable and environmentally friendly homes – an initiative supported by The Big Issue. On becoming an Ambassador, he said: “I accept it wholeheartedly. I’m so honoured to be a Big Issue Brand Ambassador. I wish we did not have the problem with homelessness in this country. I wish The Big Issue was not needed. But we have it. And it is. So I’m all in. And I’ll do it for the rest of my days, if they want me. It’s a lifetime commitment for me. Because the Big Issue very, very directly and very powerfully makes a difference.”
Photographer Credit: Channel 4
Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton
Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton is one of the most senior firefighters in the UK. She is also a prize-winning academic and author of a book on life-and-death decision-making. Sabrina was named as one of Marie Claire’s Future Shapers, featured on Cosmopolitan’s Millenial Power List and was names as one a Big Issue Changemaker. Cohen-Hatton joined The Big Issue as an ambassador in 2019 – 21 years after selling the magazine after school in Newport town centre as a homeless teenager. As a Big Issue ambassador, she tells her remarkable journey from the street to becoming one of the most senior firefighters in the UK to inspire other people. Sabrina said: “I am super excited about being a Big Issue ambassador, I want to tell people who are in the same position as I was that it doesn’t have to define you. Your circumstance doesn’t determine where you end up, just where you start your journey. If I can help give someone that spark they may need to change things, it will be a really worthwhile endeavour.”
Photographer Credit: Louise Haywood-Schiefer
Renowned actor Christopher Eccleston is a long term supporter of The Big Issue and first appeared on the cover of The Big Issue in 1996 – before his role in Our Friends In The North. He’s been interviewed countless times since for the magazine, has also featured in our showpiece Letter To My Younger Self feature and even invited The Big Issue to his house to talk about our 25th birthday in 2016. On becoming an Ambassador, Eccleston said: “I remember when it was launched. And to see something like The Big Issue born makes you proud. Because you feel like the social conscience of the nation is active…So the first thing I’d like to say as an Ambassador is that if you’ve always supported your vendor, in almost 30 years of The Big Issue’s existence, please continue to do so. Because it’s even worse now. And if it’s worse for you, you can only imagine how much worse it is for people living on the streets. We’ve got to get that message out there… I’ve been very moved and very touched to join The Big Issue. When I start thinking about this great creation that I’m becoming a small part of, it’s an honour.”
Photographer Credit: Johnny Ring
David Lammy is the Labour Member of Parliament for Tottenham, England, where he was born and raised. After being elected for the seventh time in December 2019, he was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Justice. As part of this role, Lammy built on his landmark review of the criminal justice system, which explored the treatment of and outcomes for Black and minority ethnic people in British courts and prisons.
Lammy’s parents arrived in the UK from Guyana as part of the over half a million people who moved from the Caribbean to Britain in the 1970s, known as the Windrush generation.
He is renowned for his role in securing justice for those victims of the Windrush Scandal as well as victims of London’s Grenfell Tower Fire. Lammy explores these issues and more in Tribes, his book on both the benign and malign effects of our very human need to belong. He is an Associate Tenant Barrister at the pre-eminent Doughty Street Chambers and a Visiting Professor in Practice at London School of Economics, Department of Law.
On why he chose to accept the title of Big Issue Brand Ambassador, Lammy said: “I have been the member of Parliament for Tottenham for 20 years. Very, very sadly, in Tottenham and in Haringey we have got among the highest homelessness levels in London and homelessness is a growing problem.
He added: “I think it is also right to say on a personal level, my father struggled with alcoholism and was homeless for periods of his life. So for all those reasons, as a prominent voice here in the capital city, I'm very, very pleased to attach my name to The Big Issue, which is a publication I've written in and bought over many years, and to do what I can to raise these issues.”
Photographer Credit: Chris McAndrew
Bafta nominated actor, Daniel Mays, is one of the finest British actors working today. For almost two decades, since his early work for Mike Leigh in All Or Nothing and Vera Drake, Mays has been a mainstay of the big and small screen – with major roles in Red Riding, Ashes To Ashes, Des and Line of Duty. He’s also been a supporter of The Big Issue. He has been interviewed for the magazine and advocated support of The Big Issue’s Covid-19 Appeal to his followers on social media. For The Big Raffle, he even offered one lucky winner the chance to win an Acting workshop. On becoming an Ambassador, he said: “I’m incredibly humbled to be asked to become an Ambassador for The Big Issue and help raise awareness for the incredible work the organisation does for homeless and vulnerable people in the UK. I’ve long been a huge admirer of the whole concept of supporting and championing people to run their own small business, but also the work the whole team at The Big Issue do behind the scenes, helping people with the fundamental issues that have brought them there in the first place.”
Jack Parsons is the CEO of The Youth Group, an organisation he started in order to enable millions of young people to access jobs, skills and mentors. He is also the UK's Chief Youth Officer, working with the Government to champion the interests of young people across the country.
Jack grew up in a single parent household with a mother who was an alcoholic. He faced a lot of setbacks and a lot of no’s entering the world of work and it made him determined to do something to enable young people to thrive.
The Youth Group do exactly this through a series of youth-first programmes focusing on youth employment, mental health and diversity, which are enabled through successful collaboration between business, Government and education.
Jack has won numerous awards for the work he has done to support young people.
On becoming an Ambassador, Jack said: “We have to do more to help young people through such tough times and support them to feel like they can 'win' at work, in their communities and in society. When I was asked to become an Ambassador of Big Issue Group and the mission they are embarking on to help more into work, I knew I had to get involved and support. It's going to be an amazing period of impact and everyone can play their part to support the new vision over the next five years.”
Photographer Credit: Louise Haywood - Schiefer
Sherrie Silver, globally recognised Dancer and Choreographer, is responsible for Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ and won her the MTV VMA for Best Choreography in 2018. She travels the globe choreographing for some the biggest names in music, including Rihanna, French Montana, Rita Ora, Burnaboy and Mr. Eazi. Alongside this, Sherrie has choreographed for the likes of Apple, Amazon, Google, Adobe and YouTube. She has worked with US Vogue in a movement direction role for multiple projects, including the 2019 The Met Gala video shot by Bardia Zeinali. Her most recent project, was choreographing for acclaimed animated film, ‘Sing 2.’
Alongside her choreography, Sherrie is a United Nations IFAD Advocate for Rural Youth and runs two charities in Rwanda, an orphanage, Children of Destiny and Destiny Rebuilders, a charity providing health insurance to underprivileged citizens. Sherrie is on a mission to bring African culture to the world and uses every resource possible to uplift her community and other African creatives.
Sherrie said: “I have chosen to support Big Issue because it provides people with it’s the skills and training they need to work their way out of poverty. As someone who works with underprivileged and homeless people around Africa through my charity, Children of Destiny, I know that the best way to help someone living in poverty is by giving them a means to help themselves, in order to avoid dependency, because as we know, helpers come and go. It is an honour to be able to support such an amazing brand that changes lives for good.”
Photographer Credit: Sherrie Silver
Sophie Winkleman, also known as Lady Frederick Windsor, is an actor. She started acting with the National Youth Theatre and continued at Cambridge University where she joined the Cambridge Footlights. She wrote and performed in the Perrier Award nominated show Far Too Happy and has worked on stage (notably with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Peter Hall Company), television and film ever since. She won many fans for her role as Big Suze in ‘Peep Show’ before going on to appear as Ashton Kutcher’s longterm girlfriend Zoe in ‘Two and a Half Men’ and, most recently as Kinvara in ‘Strike: Lethal White’.
Sophie is passionate about The Big Issue’s mission, saying: “I am honoured to come on board as a Big Issue Brand Ambassador. A helping hand should be available to everyone who finds themselves in the horrific predicament of being homeless. Having a certain number of The Big Issues to sell every week gives a person a sense of purpose, hope and self-esteem, all three essential foundations for recovering from the abyss.
There is nothing like The Big Issue and I believe it to be vital to the heart and soul of our country.”
Photographer Credit: Andrew Crowley