Big Issue vendor, Jim Hannah, 63, who sells the magazine on Dove Street in Norwich, has urged people to help vendors this during the cost-of-living crisis this Christmas, by buying a subscription.
For Jim Hannah, the option for his customers to subscribe to the magazine online has been a game-changer by protecting him from falling footfall: “I get quite a few online subscriptions and I’ve found it quite helpful to have them because my sales have gone down at the moment and they are keeping [my income] up.”
He continued: “My customers who used to go to work have started buying online and my street sales have dipped. My pitch is completely empty in the mornings so I’m doing late morning and into the afternoon. Those online subscriptions are bringing me back up to somewhere where I was before the pandemic.”
The Big Issue vendor added: “The subscriptions have been a game-changer. If they hadn’t come in I don’t know what would have happened. Hopefully things will pick up at Christmas. It normally does when people are out shopping.”
On why he started selling the magazine, Jim explained: “Things started going pear-shaped when my wife passed away 14 years ago just three months after my dad died. I used to just drink every day of the week after that while sat in the graveyard. Then I landed in hospital one morning.”
Jim continued: “I didn’t know how I got there. I’d collapsed outside my home and the surgeon told me if it wasn’t for the lad across the road who spotted me then I wouldn’t have been here. Through all the drink I’d given myself an ulcer and I didn’t realise I had it. I gave myself one hell of a fright. That was enough to make me give up the drink.