Press Release

Big Issue launches a new way to support thousands of marginalised people this winter, as “unprecedented poverty crisis” takes hold

Lord John Bird, founder of the Big Issue and Big Issue Ambassador and actor, Daniel Mays, have called for the British public to support thousands of magazine vendors selling across the UK this winter, in the face of an escalating ‘unprecedented poverty crisis’.

  • Lord Bird, founder of the Big Issue and Big Issue Ambassador, acclaimed actor, Daniel Mays call for support for Big Issue vendors at Christmas and beyond, to enable vendors to escape poverty for good 

Lord John Bird, founder of the Big Issue and Big Issue Ambassador and actor, Daniel Mays, have called for the British public to support thousands of magazine vendors selling across the UK this winter, in the face of an escalating ‘unprecedented poverty crisis’. 

A recent report shows that over 3.8 million people experienced destitution in 2022 (JRF Destitution, 2023), including one million children, and cannot afford to meet their most basic physical needs to stay warm, clean and dry. This is an increase of 148% since 2017. This has deep and profound impacts on health, mental health and peoples’ prospects. 

Ad-hoc support from the Government, first during the pandemic and now to help with the cost of living, has not halted the rising level of destitution. There is an urgent need for action to tackle destitution in the UK and support those in need.  

The Big Issue Group has reported that, in the face of these circumstances, over the winter months they will experience a huge influx of people at the sharp end of poverty signing up to sell the Big Issue magazine as a vital source of income and to cover their basic winter needs.  

Big Issue is working harder than ever to provide those most affected with the tools for survival. The organisation’s Frontline team are out every day supporting vendors to earn an income from magazine sales and providing access to vital services such as food, fuel, mental health and housing.  

There are a number of ways the public can support vendors and the Big Issue: buying a magazine from a local vendor, purchasing a subscription to the magazine, or making a financial contribution to the organisation.  

This year, the Big Issue has launched a new way to support either directly or by making a purchase for friends and family. The Big Issue Winter Support Kit ispriced at £34.99 and gives the recipient four copies of the magazine, while the vendor receives a Big Issue beanie hat to keep warm, a hot drink and lunch item, to keep vendors fuelled, supported by Greggs, equipment to increase earnings through cashless transactions and a personalised support plan, including sales and employment training from the Big Issue’s Frontline Team.  

Daniel Mays, acclaimed actor and Big Issue Ambassador, said: “This Christmas vendors and the Big Issue need your support more than ever. Buy from a local vendor regularly if you have one, but if you don’t you can subscribe, give a financial contribution or buy a Big Issue Winter Support Kit for £34.99. Big Issue vendors urgently need your help to earn a living and move on with their lives, beyond Christmas.”

Lord Bird, Founder of the Big Issue, said: “Sadly, we are witnessing the strain of making ends meet amongst our vendors, coupled with an influx of people at the sharp end of poverty, coming to us to sell the magazine as a vital source of income and to cover their basic winter needs.   

“Big Issue is working harder than ever to provide those most affected with the tools for survival.  Our Frontline team are out every day supporting vendors to earn an income from magazine sales and getting them access to vital services such as food, fuel, mental health and housing.  

“This Christmas we are asking people to come together and bring warmth, support, and hope to as many vendors as possible. If you don’t have a local vendor to the buy the magazine from regularly, we are asking people to buy a Big Issue Working Winter Support Kit. You will receive four magazines and vendors will get tools to help vendors work and earn, as well as provide access to vital training and employment pathways to escape poverty for good. 

“Your support will not only ensure vendors survive the winter but can make a better life for themselves in 2024. Be a beacon of change for Big Issue vendors this Christmas., while supporting our ongoing mission to dismantle poverty.” 

Jon Gregg, who sells the magazine at M&S Muswell Hill, and Parliament Hill Farmers Market, said: “The hardest thing about selling in the winter is, it’s partly the cold. It’s harder to stay on your pitch without having to keep moving, to go and get a hot drink if you can get one or something hot to eat, you know, you want to stay on your pitch.

“There are so many different ways the Big Issue can change your life. It’s helped my confidence a lot, my self-esteem, things like that.

“I’d like to say thank you for supporting us all year. We really do value the sales when you buy, even if it’s not every week. We realise cost of living crisis makes it difficult. But your support is invaluable, and we really appreciate people who come and buy it week in, week out in all weathers.”

You can support by buying a magazine from a vendor in the street, subscribing online, making a financial contribution or buying a Big Issue Working Winter Support Kit for £34.99 www.bigissue.com/christmas.  


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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