Street papers provide global update on how the world’s homeless population is facing the coronavirus
The Big Issue took stock of how coronavirus is affecting the world’s homeless community, providing another update on just how severely the spread of the virus is impacting street papers and the people for which they provide an income.
UK street papers The Big Issue and Big Issue North will, for the first time, be sold in select shops and supermarkets across the country in response to the effects of the crisis caused by the outbreak of COVID-19. Vendors of both magazines had been advised to no longer sell on the streets after the UK government enforced lockdown measures in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.
With The Big Issue no longer able to have its vendors sell the magazine on the street, the great majority have seen their usual way of earning an income vanish overnight. Here, they describe how the coronavirus lockdown is going to affect them.
INSP recently moved office, and now shares a space with The Big Issue. During #VendorWeek, we chatted to Anabel – who has been selling The Big Issue only as long as INSP has been office neighbours with the Glasgow-based street paper – about getting involved and what the magazine means for her.
To mark the end of INSP’s 25th anniversary year, we have been asking vendors across the street paper network to write a letter to their 25-year-old self. Today’s vendors are Nicolae and Dave of Big Issue North.
Big Issue vendors write to their 25-year-old selves: “Don’t be too hard on yourself, it will help you understand people and their mistakes”
To mark the end of INSP’s 25th anniversary year, we have been asking vendors across the street paper network to write a letter to their 25-year-old self. Today, we hear from four Big Issue vendors in the UK – apt as the format is a twist on the popular ‘Letter to My Younger Self’ series from The Big Issue.
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.
The Big Issue has been part of Dodge Dawson’s life for many years and he’s always found his way back to the magazine. He credits the magazine with helping him to increase his confidence and to learn new skills. After being helped by so many people in his life, Dodge now volunteers with Street Vets and the NHS in addition to working as a Big Issue vendor. He wants to give something back in return for all of the help that he’s received from others.
The Blankfaces is a Glasgow-based social enterprise fashion label that works with people experiencing homelessness on design ideas to create stylish streetwear with a message. INSP spoke to its founder Gerard McKenzie-Govan about the impetus behind the business and giving an outlet for the homeless community’s creative spirit.
Scottish school pupils collaborate with The Big Issue to create, and sell, a special edition of the street paper
The Big Issue has teamed up with the Social Enterprise Academy bringing together pupils from Scottish schools to put together a special edition of the street paper. The magazine, which gave the young people a platform to raise awareness about the social issues they care most about, is now being sold by the kids at their respective schools, and has been included as a supplement in the current edition being sold by vendors.
Norbert has sold street papers all over the UK and has settled into a new rhythm of life since moving to York two and a half years ago. He’s happy to work in a city where magazine vendors support each other and is hoping to establish a permanent pitch outside York train station. Norbert is also passionate about campaigning on issues affecting the homeless and runs the Homeless Britain Facebook page in addition to his work as a vendor.
Big Issue North’s #VendorWeek celebrations enlisted notable political figures, musicians and sports stars to face off against each other alongside street paper vendors in a selling challenge over the course of the week.
Brigitta has been a Big Issue vendor for three years now, after moving from her home in Romania in search of a better life and a greater chance of finding work. Here, she talks about her family, her pitch and how she gets on selling The Big Issue.
This year we asked vendors: if you could give a song as a present this Christmas, what would you choose? The result was the INSP Vendor Playlist, which is now available for your listening pleasure. Dave from Big Issue North dedicated this song to his heroic fellow vendors.
This year we asked vendors: if you could give a song as a present this Christmas, what would you choose? The result was the INSP Vendor Playlist, which is now available for your listening pleasure. Big Issue vendor Lee stuck with a Christmas classic.
Victoria came to the UK from Romania a year ago and has been a Big Issue North vendor for around nine months. She wants to build a future for herself and her partner, Ionut, here in the UK and to find a stable job. Victoria enjoys her work as a Big Issue North vendor and is grateful for all of the support and help that she has had from her customers.
After winning the Best Project category at the 2018 INSP Awards for their Frank Turner fronted fundraising concert during the 2017 Street Paper Summit in Manchester, Big Issue North’s Street Noise team embarked on their most audacious challenge yet – a string of five events in five days, across five major cities in northern England, called the Big Busk. INSP was lucky enough to tag along for a day to see how it all went.
With the INSP Global Street Paper Summit in Glasgow this week, it’s a great opportunity to hear from one of the city’s vendors. Daniel is a familiar face in the west end of Glasgow, and you might even recognise him from past stories featured in the INSP website and News Service. He even went viral not that long ago. Here, he tells us how he came to be a Big Issue vendor, getting back into education and his love of graphic novels.
Andy used to sell Big Issue North in Liverpool. This interview took place at the Marie Curie Hospice in the city in October 2017. Andy asked that it was published after his death. He passed away in March and his funeral was held in Liverpool.
John is a Big Issue vendor based in Weston-super-Mare who has been a magazine vendor for a few years. Here, he talks about his love for his home of over a decade, the town of Weston-super-Mare, and discusses what life is like for him as a Big Issue vendor.
Nicusor, 56, comes from Romania and has been selling Big Issue North since 2016. He tells us about his hopes of finding work as a carpenter in the future, learning English and the joy that he finds in playing music.
Cornell Jarea moved to London in 2013. Initially lucky in finding work, his fortunes changed when his job came to an end. He tells the Big Issue about life in the UK and how selling the magazine has helped him.
We meet up with vendor Andy, for whom change has been afoot. He tells Big Issue North about his new flat, vents his political frustrations and shares his experiences as a vendor of the magazine.
After his divorce, Adrian had to send his children back to Romania to live with his parents. He used to work as a lorry driver, but has struggled to find work through employment agencies. Now he sells Big Issue North to support his family and give them a better life.