INSP welcomes new Ambassadors: author Irvine Welsh and journalist Mariane Pearl

INSP’s new ambassadors featured 
in street papers worldwide. 

The International Network of Street Papers today announced two new high-profile Ambassadors to support its work fighting homelessness through social enterprise and independent media.

Scottish Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh and French journalist Mariane Pearl join the charity’s group of esteemed figureheads, which now includes Brazilian author Paulo Coelho; and Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow.

INSP supports The Big Issue magazine in the UK and over 100 other similar projects in 40 countries worldwide, helping them with start-up support, staff and vendor training, funding, networking and campaigns to raise awareness of their work. INSP also provides editorial support through a unique online news service for its street papers. With a combined readership of 6 million people per edition, the network attracts the attention of famous names, such Prince William and the Dalai Lama. Interviews with famous names create a huge boost in sales for homeless vendors worldwide.

Irvine Welsh’s appointment as INSP Ambassador followed his popular interview for INSP’s news service where he described the street paper concept as “one of the great social achievements of the last 20 years”. The interview was published by street papers in South Africa, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Germany and the US- including in StreetWise in Welsh’ home city of Chicago.

Asked about supporting INSP, Welsh said: “I became an INSP ambassador not because I’m disadvantaged in the current housing market, but privileged by it; I see so many friends struggling to keep a home together, or trying to rebuild one. They deserve the same rights that I enjoy. Homelessness issues are now sadly ubiquitous across the western world, and very much a product of the weak priorities our political leadership has set. The social aspect of housing policy is almost existent, but is in reality how people aspire to live; a home, family, friends, within a community and a concerned citizenry”.

Having faced one of the most unimaginable challenges in her life, Mariane Pearl has come to symbolise hope and courage for humankind across the world. She spoke to INSP journalists at the end of last year about being thrust into the limelight when her husband, Daniel Pearl and father-to-be of their unborn child was kidnapped and killed by a Pakistan militant Islamic fundamentalist group in 2002. The interview was published by INSP street papers from the US to The Big Issue in Japan.

Speaking of her new appointment, Pearl said: “I am delighted to become an ambassador of INSP. Journalism should always be on the side of the people, it should be in the streets and for the streets. Journalism that helps citizens climb out of poverty by sharing information and stories is, in that sense, the purest form of practice.”

INSP’s Executive Director Lisa Maclean said: “Having the support of highly respected writers like Mariane Pearl and Irvine Welsh is a huge help to our work supporting street papers – not only as social enterprise solution to poverty – but also as independent media. Worldwide, our street papers employ more than 28,000 homeless people each year, but in a changing media and economic landscape, it’s so important that we have the support of people who can help raise awareness of the positive work and the impact of our network”.