Press Release

Big Issue Group supporting 10% more people to earn and work as UK poverty crisis deepens

With 1 in 5 Britons now living in poverty, more people are turning to the trusted social enterprise.

Street vendor Will Payne reads the Big Issue - Credit Exposure Agency

Street vendor Will Payne reads the Big Issue - Credit Exposure Agency

  • With 1 in 5 Britons now living in poverty, more people are turning to the trusted social enterprise
  • Nearly 4,000 individuals have been given access to income generating opportunities and employment through the Group’s innovative and varied services – a 10% increase on 2022
  • The online reach of the Big Issue’s award-winning journalism has grown by 57% in 2023, with 7.9 million unique users consuming its trail-blazing news and advice

Big Issue Group’s 2023 Impact Report, published today (Monday 13 May), shows a stark rise in reach, support and engagement in its services as the impact of the ongoing poverty crisis solidifies, leaving millions of Britons trapped in poverty.

The report shows that the Big Issue Group has made major strides towards its ambitious goal of engaging 11 million people by the end of 2026, with number of people reached and impacted by its work rising to 9.6 million in 2023 – a 24% increase on the previous year.

It’s set against the backdrop of a stark rise in UK poverty that’s left more people needing support as they grapple with ever-escalating mortgages, rent costs, energy bills and food prices[1]. As one of the country’s leading social enterprises and B-corps, the Big Issue Group has spent the past three decades developing innovative services that change lives through enterprise.

More than 1 in 5 people are now in poverty in the UK and 3.8 million people are reportedly living in destitution in 2022, including around one million children[2]. This is almost two-and-a-half times the number of people in 2017.

Selling the Big Issue remains one enterprising solution for people facing poverty to generate an income. 913 people sold the magazine for the first time in 2023, and £4 million was collectively earned by vendors across the UK, an 8% increase on 2022.

The need for trusted news and advice on social issues has never been greater. In 2023, 7.9 million unique users sought out Big Issue exclusives on issues impacting people feeling the bite of the cost-of-living crisis, from energy price fluctuations to universal credit changes. This has resulted in a remarkable 57% increase from last year in traffic to Big Issue’s award-winning online journalism.

The Group’s social investment arm, Big Issue Invest, has improved the lives of 1.5 million people through the 140 purpose-driven organisations they’ve invested in. It backs passionate social entrepreneurs to deliver projects that work for their communities, with around £45 million of assets under our management in 2023, a 20% growth on last year.

229 individuals were supported on their journey to employment through our person-centred recruitment service Big Issue Recruit. Dedicated to finding sustainable employment for people who face barriers to finding work, such as people struggling with their mental health, Recruit has ultimately placed 85 people into new job opportunities.

Paul Cheal, CEO of the Big Issue Group, said: “Our enterprising solutions to support people in poverty, be it direct or through our work with other organisations, are making a real difference to people’s lives. Whether though our work with vendors, our social investments, our person-centred recruitment service, or the impact of our campaigning, we’re determined to unlock social and economic opportunities that help millions endure the poverty crisis the UK is currently facing.

“We’d like to thank those who have supported us, be it readers, partners or investors. This report demonstrates that our work is needed more than ever.”

Read the full report to find out more about our work, and find out how you can support us today: bigissue.com/big-issue-group-impact.

[1] There has been a stark rise in UK poverty rates in 2023: https://www.jrf.org.uk/uk-poverty-2024-the-essential-guide-to-understanding-poverty-in-the-uk#_-poverty-has-increased-close-to-pre-pandemic-levels

[2] More than 1 in 5 people in the UK (22%) were in poverty in 2021/22 – 14.4 million people: https://www.jrf.org.uk/uk-poverty-2024-the-essential-guide-to-understanding-poverty-in-the-uk

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.
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