Press Release

HRH The Duke of Cambridge throws his support behind The Big Issue to mark his 40th Birthday

The Duke has also written exclusively for the magazine, sold by marginalised people in order to lift themselves out of poverty, about why he wanted to don a Big Issue tabard and find out more about the experiences of Big Issue vendors.

Prince William and Dave Martin

The Duke of Cambridge and Dave Martin at The Passage Photo: Andy Parsons

  • A special edition of the magazine to mark his 40th Birthday, out from today, tells the story of what happened when HRH The Duke of Cambridge took to the streets to sell The Big Issue
  • The Duke has written exclusively for The Big Issue about why he wanted to shine the spotlight on homelessness around his 40th birthday
  • The magazine also includes an interview between Prince William and Dave Martin, the Big Issue vendor he joined to sell the magazine

Today (Monday, 20th June), The Big Issue has revealed the inside story of when HRH The Duke of Cambridge recently sold The Big Issue Magazine to mark his 40th birthday. He joined vendor Dave Martin, 60, on his pitch to draw attention to the work of the organisation and the issues of homelessness and poverty in the UK.

The Duke has also written exclusively for the magazine, sold by marginalised people in order to lift themselves out of poverty, about why he wanted to don a Big Issue tabard and find out more about the experiences of Big Issue vendors.

HRH Prince William wrote: “I was 11 when I first visited a homeless shelter with my mother, who in her own inimitable style was determined to shine a light on an overlooked, misunderstood problem. In the 30-odd years since, I’ve seen countless projects in this space grow from strength to strength, including charities of which I have had the honour of being Patron. New initiatives have been launched up and down the country – some have worked, some have not. But The Big Issue, perhaps now the most immediately recognisable of these organisations, has undeniably had an impact.

He continued: “I wanted to experience the other side and see what it was like to be a Big Issue vendor. My time was truly eye opening. I have always believed in using my platform to help tell those stories and to bring attention and action to those who are struggling. I plan to do that now I’m turning 40, even more than I have in the past. So, for my part, I commit to continue doing what I can to shine a spotlight on this solvable issue not just today, but in the months and years to come.” The full article can be read here.

Only a few days after the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, HRH The Duke of Cambridge sold the magazine on Rochester Row, close to Victoria in London with Dave Martin, Big Issue vendor. Together that afternoon they sold 32 copies. They then visited The Passage, a homelessness charity nearby that supports people who are street homeless or at risk of homelessness, of which the Duke became a Patron in 2019. It was to The Passage that Princess Diana brought her young sons to give them an insight into the challenges faced by people on the margins.

The Duke and Dave then interviewed each other about their Big Issue selling experience, homelessness, how the Jubilee brought the country together and much more. The conversation is available to read in The Big Issue magazine and website.

When The Duke asked Dave what The Big Issue had done for him, he said: “It got me off the street. Gave me respect. I was begging at the time. Another vendor said I could be doing something a lot better and took me along to the Big Issue office.”

The Duke added: “People who are homeless can’t rebuild their life without a number of things. And one of those things is respect and self-respect. And that’s what The Big Issue gives you, along with a means to earn an income.”

Lord John Bird, founder of The Big Issue, said: “I met with Prince William and told him how I myself had been homeless and got out of grief by being imprisoned and then went on to start The Big Issue. We need to do everything we can to get the millions of people in the UK out of poverty for good. We need more emphasis on prevention and cure, not just all the support and effort going into emergency relief.

“The scale of interest in William selling The Big Issue has been enormous. And it puts our vendors and their sterling work in the public eye again. Anyone can sell The Big Issue, even a Prince!”

Mick Clarke, CEO of The Passage, said: “We were delighted to host our Royal Patron, HRH The Duke of Cambridge, for this special interview with Dave and The Big Issue. The Duke has visited The Passage on many occasions over the years to meet our clients and raise awareness and support for people affected by homelessness. We were especially pleased to welcome Dave as a former Passage client and very proud to see how he has moved on in life.

“As The Duke mentions in the interview, the ‘Everyone In’ programme showed that when society works together, we can truly make progress towards ending street homelessness – which simply should not exist in 21st century Britain. The Passage stands alongside The Duke, The Big Issue and many others who are working hard in the fight to end homelessness.”

This special edition of The Big Issue magazine is available to buy from vendors like Dave across the UK. Vendors buy magazines for £1.50 and sell them for £3, keeping the proceeds.

There are around 1,300 men and women working their way out of poverty by selling The Big Issue. Visit www.bigissue.com to find your local Big Issue seller. If you can’t get to a local vendor, subscriptions are available at www.bigissue.com/subscribe to help continue the work of the organisation.

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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