Press Release

“The subscriptions have been a game-changer. If they hadn’t come in I don’t know what would have happened.” Norwich Big Issue vendor talks about the importance of supporting network of 1,500 vendors via subscriptions this Christmas

Vendor, Jim hannah

Vendor, Jim Hannah

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.

He added: “Selling The Big Issue saved my life. If I didn’t start this 10 years ago I don’t think I’d have stopped drinking. It was actually one of the other vendors who said, why don’t I try it? It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Jim, who has lived in Norwich for 40 years now, concluded: “I’d like to thank everyone that supported all the vendors with a subscription while we were off our pitches during lockdown. Getting that money through the subscription really helped financially. And thanks to customers who buy a mag off every vendor in Norwich every week.”

Chris Falchi-Stead, Director of Sales & Operations at the Big Issue, said: “It’s incredibly tough out there for our vendors at the moment. The rising costs of food and energy and quieter high streets along with the colder climes are meaning a usually busy time for magazine vendors look increasingly bleak.

“Which is why we are urging people to give our vendors a fighting chance this Christmas and buy a magazine or a  subscription from them. Every copy bought is £2 earned. Give our vendors a fighting chance this Christmas. Every copy counts.”

If you would like to support Big Issue vendors this Christmas, you can buy a copy from your local vendor or subscribe online or support us at big issue.com/christmas. If you buy a subscription and allocate it to a vendor via our vendor map, the vendor receives 50% of the net profits. Every copy counts!

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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