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Day 3 round up: who should we be supporting?

The final day of the INSP annual conference centres on the most important aspect of the street paper model: the vendors.

Lisa Maclean welomes the delegates to
the last day of the conference.

The global economic downturn has resulted in a change of the demography of homeless and unemployed people. There are now often whole families without a permanent residence. Many street papers across Europe have witnessed an increase in vendors from Romania and Bulgaria in the last few years. So who is it that street papers should be supporting?

Lisa Maclean, INSP’s Executive Director, introduced the final day’s theme, followed by a speech by Freek Spinnewijn of FEANTSA (the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless).

Freek Spinnewijn of FEANTSA.

FEANTSA is a European NGO which has been working for over 20 years to prevent and alleviate the poverty and social exclusion of people threatened by or living in homelessness. Freek gave an overview of the work he and FEANTSA have been doing and demonstrated the changing demographic of homeless people in Europe. “We are facing a massive increase in youth and family homelessness,” he said. “Migration in many countries is a direct route into homelessness.” For Freek one of the main questions in his work as an NGO is how to keep the European Union interested in the issue. “We’re a bit lonely as an NGO adressing the EU, maybe also street papers could get involved.”

Panellists Fay Selvan (The Big Issue in the North, UK), Chris Alefantis (Shedia, Greece), Cole Merkel (Street Roots, USA), Thiago Massagardi (OCAS, Brazil), Bastian Putter (Bodo, Germany) and speaker Freek Spinnewijn then tackled the final discussion question of the conference: “Our vendors: who should we be supporting?”

Chaired by Editor of street paper Z! (the Netherlands), Hans van Dalfsen, the panellists from these street papers, each with a wealth of experience dealing with different vendor groups, discussed the challenges faced in their work and how they have adapted to meet the needs of new vendor groups. From these experiences they hope to share with other street papers how best to adapt to, and include, new vendor groups.

Panel discussion: Our vendors:
Who should we be supporting?

During the discussion, Cole answered the question by stating: “We will engage with anyone who walks through our office door.”

However, Bastian pointed out that “there are people we can’t help, we can’t provide help for everyone”, referring to the high number of migrants from Bulgria and Romania.

Thiago mentioned that the question is not just “Who should we be supporting?”, but also “How long should we be supporting our vendors?” Although not possible for every vendor, OCAS wants to provide a stage for them from which they can go on in their lives.

Bastian Pütter (Bodo) will succeed
Ilse Weiß as coordinator of the
German language platform.

With the final day of the conference concluded the delegates are now looking forward to the awards tonight.

Bastian Pütter, Editor-in-Chief of Bodo, Germany, was presented as the new coordinator of the platform for German language platform. He succeeds Ilse Weiß in that position.

Hildegard Denninger thanked
the staff of INSP.

Furthermore, there was thanks given to Lisa, Executive Director of INSP, who will resign in the coming weeks.

Serge Lareault, INSP Chairperson and publisher of L’Itinéraire, and Hildegard Denninger, Managing Director of BISS, thanked the whole INSP staff, the volunteers, the BISS staff and the student reporter team.

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