Children from schools across Scotland have come together to create, and sell, a special edition of The Big Issue, thanks to a partnership between the street paper and the Social Enterprise Academy (SEA), an organisation that supports people and groups working for social change.
14 schools from throughout the country are participating in the project which also saw 15 pupils, from the ages of 9 to 16 years old, from four of the schools, collaborate on the actual creation of the special edition. The team got their creative juices flowing at the street paper’s editorial office in Glasgow during a session helmed by Big Issue editor Paul McNamee.
The result was a special social enterprise inspired supplement which is now being sold by kids at all 14 participating schools, across Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire, Fife and the Highlands and Islands, as well as running in all copies of the Scottish edition of the street paper being sold by vendors. It will be available until 24 March.
Speaking about the project, Russell Blackman, managing director of The Big Issue, said: “We are so excited to be partnering with the Social Enterprise Academy. It was brilliant to work so closely with an investee of our social investment arm, Big Issue Invest, in order to offer a truly special run of the magazine for our Scottish readers.
“The magazine has been written, edited and sold by the pupils – a reflection of the pupil-led nature of the schools programme that SEA runs so successfully, which empowers young people to take action about the social issues that matter to them.”
The initiative is a part of the SEA’s Social Enterprise Schools programme, which gives students a hands-on experience in running a business with a social purpose. The SEA has supported over 1,000 schools across Scotland to set up pupil-led social enterprises.
Neil McLean, SEA’s chief executive, added: “The schools special magazine is giving Scotland’s young people a platform to shout about the issues that they care about – creatively showing how they are solving these issues by running their own sustainable social enterprises.
“Through taking part in Social Enterprise Schools, pupils are empowered to take action and affect real social change in their communities. As well as developing key employability and entrepreneurship skills for the future, our young people are inspiring other young people as far away as Australia, to develop socially entrepreneurial solutions to the challenges facing our world today.”
Publications across the street paper network have long attempted to engage young people in the street paper mission.
Some street papers, including Gothenburg’s Faktum and Hannover’s Asphalt, create special kid-focused editions of their publications which provide stories and insights into the lives of children who live on the streets, as well as being directed at young people for educational use.
The Big Issue Australia’s The Big Issue Classroom workshops gives school groups the opportunity to hear first-hand from people who have experienced homelessness and other disadvantages, providing a real-life insight into the lives of marginalised people and breaking down stereotypes.
For more information, visit bigissue.com