Thank you and Merry Christmas!

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us over the past year. 2013 has been a big year for INSP, working to support over 120 street papers and their 28,000 homeless vendors in the UK and around the world. Here are some of our highlights from the year:

Irvine Welsh exclusive Christmas Story

Our ambassador Irvine Welsh (Scottish author of Trainspotting) has written an exclusive story for our street papers to publish during this festive period. The story features Welsh’s infamous character Francis Begbie (portrayed by actor Robert Carlyle in Danny Boyle’s film adaptation of Trainspotting). The news of the exclusive recently attracted extensive media coverage and featured in most major UK newspapers, on television and online. Read more here. This worldwide exclusive is currently helping our vendors to increase sales at a particularly difficult time of year. 

International Street Paper Awards
The 2013 International Street Paper Awards was held on the final night of the conference in Munich. Awards were presented to the winners of ten categories (pictured above). Read more about the winners here.

INSP conference in Munich
In the summer we held our 17th annual conference in Munich in partnership with local street paper and INSP founding member BISS. The focus of this year’s event was on sustainability to ensure our street papers continue to best serve their vendors’ needs. A record number of people participated in the event, which was attended by over 100 delegates from 50 street papers in 30 countries! Our conference programme and coverage of our conference can all be viewed on our blog.

New INSP Ambassadors
In 2013, Scottish author Irvine Welsh and French journalist Mariane Pearl joined our high-profile supporters. Both were invited to support INSP following exclusive interviews for our news service. Read more here.

Our online news service
Our news service continued to provide street papers with high-quality international content worth over £500,000! Content included exclusive interviews with high-profile individuals, such as Richard Branson and Usain Bolt; a worldwide exclusive short story from Irvine Welsh (more below); content from external media partners, such as Reuters and IPS; and content from within the network adapted by INSP and translated by over 150 volunteer translators.

We would like to thank all our members, external content partners, interviewees, contributors and translators for their support of our news service! 

Digital Innovation

Our work supporting street papers to adapt to the digital age made it to the finals of the European Social Innovation Competition, where we were one of ten finalists out of 605 entries! We were also invited to present our digital work at Brand Perfect’s Adventures in Publishing event where delegates, all publishing experts, spent the afternoon coming up with ideas on “How we can take the street paper network into the digital age”.

Following the pilot of our digital street paper, we have continued to support street papers to trial digital innovations, helping them adapt to the digital age. Some examples include:

Megaphone (Vancouver): Vendor Finder app
Faktum (Sweden): Cashless payment app
StreetWise (Chicago, USA): Cashless payments via PayPal
The Big Issue South Africa: Digital subscriptions

Street paper launches in Greece
Shedia (Σχεδία) launched in Athens in February 2013 providing much-needed employment opportunities and support to the recession-struck capital. It will soon expand to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city. Read more here.

INSP provides advice, support, resources and editorial content to help groups start new street papers. Speaking about INSP’s support, Chris Alefantis (Co-founder of Shedia) said:

“INSP’s support has been invaluable to us. Being able to draw from the network’s knowledge and experience has truly helped us in preparing as well as possible for the challenges we have faced so far and for the challenges that lie ahead…Together we can make a difference. INSP and its members prove just that.”

International Street Paper Vendor Week
In February, we launched our first-ever annual International Street Paper Vendor Week, an international programme of events and activities celebrating street paper vendors and raising awareness of issues related to homelessness and unemployment. The event was a great success with around 8,000 vendors from 46 street papers in 20 countries benefiting from this year’s activities!

In Scotland, we organised a series of local events, including a photography exhibition and local vendor parties for 250 Big Issue vendors in Scotland. The Scottish activities were launched by Glasgow MSP Humza Yousaf (pictured right) who spent the afternoon with Big Issue Vendor Peter to find out what it’s really like to sell a street paper. In the space of an afternoon, the pair was met by sun, rain, hail and even snow!

You can view coverage of the event on our blog, our Google map of activity and a selection of media coverage.

2014 – our 20th anniversary
Next year we will celebrate INSP’s 20th anniversary, as well as our tenth year being based in Scotland! We have many exciting plans, including our second International Street Paper Vendor Week, featuring the first-ever Big Sell-Off; a follow-up to our 2012 independence conversation series; our 18th annual conference in Glasgow in the summer following the Commonwealth Games; our 20th anniversary showcase and lots more…

We need your help!
Please help us to ensure we are able continue supporting our 120 street papers to provide over 28,000 homeless vendors with a means to earn an income and improve their lives. Click here to donate to INSP today!

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