Big Issue UK founder John Bird has today been appointed to the UK’s House of Lords, the second chamber of the UK Parliament.
John Bird founded The Big Issue in 1991 as a street magazine to be sold by homeless people with half the proceeds of every sale going to the vendor, thus giving them the opportunity to earn their own income.
The Big Issue was one of founding members of INSP in 1994.
Bird told The Big Issue: “Mine will be a voice in the legislative process for the thousands of people The Big Issue has helped over the past 24 years and continues to help today through our philosophy of social entrepreneurialism based on self-help.
“I believe that one of the complexities of modern policy is that sometimes the best thinkers, like The Big Issue, are left outside the box. Yet if we are to have social opportunity and social justice for all, the thinking within the box needs to change.”
Bird will be crossbencher, meaning that he will not belong to any political party.
INSP Chief Executive Maree Aldam said: “John’s appointment is a recognition of the incredible work done by The Big Issue over the past 24 years and I hope it will serve to encourage people to continue supporting this great social enterprise.
“The Big Issue was one of the founding members of INSP in 1994, and has since acted as an inspiration for other street newspapers and magazines around the world.
“INSP now supports more than 100 different street papers in 36 countries. In the past two decades, our members have supported more than 250,000 homeless people earn an income and our publications reach 6 million readers per edition.”