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INSP25: INSP celebrates a quarter of a century with street paper members

INSP has been celebrating its 25th anniversary all year with events and projects, and sharing stories and memories. With more happening this month and towards the end of the year, INSP spoke to members of the network also celebrating the quarter of a century milestone in 2019 about what has changed and what is to come.

Where Were You 25 Years Ago? From Homelessness to Finding a Home at L’Itinéraire

Like INSP, this year Montréal street paper L’Itinéraire is celebrating its 25th anniversary. In a special edition of the magazine to coincide with celebrations of the milestone, L’Itinéraire vendor Jean-Paul Lebel wrote candidly about his break-up, drug use, how he got involved selling the street paper and the effect that has had on his life.

Our vendors: Keira (The Big Issue Australia, Sydney, Australia)

Keira sells The Big Issue from her pitch at Miranda train station, Sydney. She has been working for The Big Issue since leaving school and is grateful for the community that exists among those working for the paper. Keira has been a wheelchair user since having an operation to remove a brain stem tumour when she was eight and has been a long-time advocate for those who use wheelchairs. She views her work as a vendor as another important aspect of her efforts to increase awareness.

Vendor City Guide: Naples

The Big Issue has been reaching out to vendors across the street paper network to get the inside scoop on the cities they know best. This instalment features Scarp de’ tenis vendor Sergio Gatto talking about Naples.

Our vendors: Palmer Efosa (zebra., Merano, Italy)

34-year-old zebra., vendor Palmer is originally from Nigeria. He spoke to the street paper about his childhood, looking for work and how much he enjoys talking to the elderly as he’s selling the street paper.

Life on the Streets: Beating the heat

Summer may be over, but due to pollution, the trapping of heat in urban areas and global warming, the autumn months may not prove to be much cooler for people living on the streets. In a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about, Street Roots vendors talk about the burden of living on the streets when the weather is hot.

Our vendors: Mjongeni Malanti (The Big Issue South Africa, Cape Town)

Mjongeni Malanti is a single father and a man of many talents. He is quick to learn, has many different skills and finds great pleasure in photography. Malanti believes in persevering, no matter what obstacles are in his path.

Covers Galore: Rounding-up August’s street paper front pages

Fiction, food, festivals and fun – here’s our round-up of street papers covers this month.

INSP and Next City partnership to bring new content to the INSP News Service

INSP has teamed up with non-profit news organisation Next City as a content partner to bring stories to its members. Next City stories, which focus on the problems affecting cities and the solutions that infuse them with greater economic, environmental and social justice, will appear on INSP’s News Service.

South Tyrol’s zebra. follows in street papers’ footsteps with first CEO selling event

CEO selling events are a staple way for street papers to drum up interest and educate both high-flying business people and celebrities, as well as regular members of the public, on the work they do. South Tyrol’s zebra. held their first ever such event earlier this month, inviting sports brand mogul Heiner Oberrauch to sell the street paper with vendor David Charles for an afternoon. The magazine’s editor Lisa Frei reports back on how it went.

Our vendors: Remus Diaconescu (The Big Issue, London, UK)

Remus has previous for selling street papers. In fact, he’s a bit of a veteran after a six-year stint as a vendor in Amsterdam. Now, he is selling The Big Issue in London, and using the skills he has learned to hone his craft in this new environment. He will also get the chance to utilise The Big Issue’s new contactless payments scheme.

Passion projects: Curbside Chronicle vendors on their hobbies

Curbside Chronicle vendors don’t just sell magazines. Although that’s probably what you’ll catch our green-vested sales force doing in public, it’s only one facet of their lives. Vendors love movies, sports and art just like anyone else. When vendors transition back into housing, it not only creates more opportunities for stability and comfort but also allows them to pursue their hobbies. From painting and drawing to tabletop gaming and leather work, here’s what some of our vendors do in their free time.

Our vendors: The Bear Whisperer (Megaphone, Vancouver, Canada)

The Bear Whisperer is a vendor who sells Megaphone, the Hope in Shadows calendar and Voices of the Street literary anthology in downtown Vancouver. This is a story of his travelling days, hard work and journey to British Columbia – the province where he found the opportunities that changed his life.

Our vendors: Richard Gerrard (Megaphone, Victoria, Canada)

Richard Gerrard has been selling street papers in Victoria since 2007 and became a Megaphone vendor in 2014. As well as enjoying his Saturday shifts selling the paper from his pitch outside the Bay Centre on Douglas Street, Victoria, Gerrard enjoys creating things, history and the occasional sweet treat.

Real Change turns 25: Q&A with Founding Director Tim Harris

INSP turns 25 this year, but so do a number of our street paper members. Real Change in Seattle is just one of them. To mark it, the paper’s reporter Ashley Archibald spoke to its founding director Tim Harris about the past, present and future of the street paper movement.

Vendor City Guide: Edinburgh

The Big Issue has been reaching out to vendors across the street paper network to get the inside scoop on the cities they know best. In the midst of the worldwide renowned Edinburgh Festival, otherwise known as the Fringe, vendor George Whyte talks about the Scottish capital.

Life on the Streets: Prone to loss

Portland’s Street Roots has a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about. People in extreme poverty are experts on loss, whether it be their belongings, their privacy, their dignity or anything else.

Our vendors: Sonja Stockhammer (Apropos, Salzburg, Austria)

Sonja Stockhammer isn’t a woman to beat around the bush; nor is she a chatterbox. But through her judicious choice of words she paints a vivid picture of her life and loves. When she met Christina Repolust for an interview, Sonja talked quickly and eloquently about her love for her horses, dogs and cats, her experiences as a street paper vendor and her feeling that anything is possible.

Two halves, two street papers

Representing INSP at the 2019 Homeless World Cup, Tony Inglis had a day to take in as much of the tournament as possible. With a number of the national teams represented being affiliated with street papers in their respective countries, he took it upon himself to ensure that he supported them all at least once over the course of the day. It presented an intriguing match clash which happened to bring out the best in what the event has to offer – fair play, camaraderie, friendship and excellent football.

Our vendors: Alunita Nicola (Surprise, Winterthur, Switzerland)

Alunita Nicola is from Romania and she now works as a Surprise vendor in Winterthur, Switzerland. The thing that motivates Alunita is her desire to provide a better life for her son than the one that she has had: Alunita experienced a challenging upbringing in Romania before first travelling to Germany at the age of 19. Now living in Switzerland, Alunita is working hard to support herself and her son and is optimistic about what she can achieve through hard work.

“A once in a lifetime experience”

INSP caught up with two of the younger players representing their country at the 2019 Homeless World Cup. Angela Ntoumanoglou, from Greece, and Jungho Kang, from Korea, are only teenagers, and both participate in street football for different reasons, though both agree that getting to play at the tournament was a once in a lifetime experience.

Life on the Streets: The proliferation of private guards

Portland’s Street Roots has a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about. Some Street Roots vendors welcome added security; others say private guards – who are not police – overstep their bounds.

Our vendors: Linda Pelletier (L’Itinéraire, Montréal, Québec, Canada)

Linda Pelletier is a L’Itinéraire vendor who sells the paper from her pitch at Marché Maisonneuve in Montréal. She has faced many challenges in her life and now considers herself as one of the many good writers at L’Itinéraire. Here, we learn more about her experiences earlier in life and her journey through trauma to self-acceptance. Now, aged 64, she can appreciate the beauty within herself.

Soccer and street papers: Players from Surprise’s street soccer project are Switzerland’s representatives at the 2019 Homeless World Cup

Not everyone knows that street paper organisations have myriad social projects that go alongside the creation and sale of the publication itself. Sport programmes are increasingly popular and at the 2019 Homeless World Cup several of the competing nation teams were chosen from such projects. INSP caught up with Axel Woltmann, one of the players on the Swiss team, which stems from the country’s street paper organisation, Surprise.

From hostels to the football pitch and beyond

Ex-RAF veteran Gary Godfrey moved back to Glasgow, Scotland, last year and onto couches and hostels after battling substance abuse and alcohol misuse. Now, he is captaining his country in an international tournament, about to move into an apartment and start a new job. INSP spoke to him between matches at the 2019 Homeless World Cup in Cardiff, Wales.

Summer Front Pages: A round-up of July’s street paper covers

Here’s our round-up of the bold, bright and beautiful covers being sold on the streets this July.

How one goal inspired Michael Sheen to bring the Homeless World Cup to Wales

Acclaimed actor turned activist and social enterprise advocate Michael Sheen is an ambassador for the 2019 Homeless World Cup being held in his home country of Wales. He told The Big Issue why he spearheaded the bid for the tournament to head to Cardiff.

The Big Issue Korea drop in to The Big Issue’s Cardiff office during 2019 Homeless World Cup

The Big Issue Korea’s street soccer team are representing South Korea at the 2019 Homeless World Cup being held in Cardiff, Wales. During a break in play, members of the group visited The Big Issue UK’s office in the city.