Business giving has the power to be truly transformational. We talked to the Big Issue Foundation, one of our charity members, to find out more about the work they do and the impact businesses can have by supporting their work.
What’s the mission of your organisation?
The Big Issue Foundation’s mission is to connect every Big Issue vendor to the support and personal solutions that enable them to rebuild their lives and determine their own pathways to a better future.
Who do you help?
Our vendors come from all walks of life and every background imaginable. Many have suffered abuse, been victims of trauma, have been failed by the education and care systems and have experience of the criminal justice system.
Some have multiple university degrees, a successful career to look back on or extensive travelling experience. Yet Big Issue vendors can suffer with mental and physical health difficulties, and some are battling with addictions. Every Big Issue vendor’s story is different, yet all face obstacles that push them further out of society.
Matthew is one example of the people that the Big Issue Foundation has supported. He struggled for years with alcohol addiction, and had been homeless on and off for over 20 years. He became a Big Issue Vendor in 2013
“The Big Issue gave me structure, purpose, a sense of usefulness. A place in the community. When I was begging and drinking, my eyes were always down. But never as a vendor. I sold over 75 magazines a week.”
Matthew received support from the Big Issue team and access to counselling. He has been sober now for over year, has a flat (which some of his regular customers helped to furnish)and a job. He stopped selling the Big Issue three months ago and is moving on to a better future ahead.
“The Big Issue has played a huge part of my recovery. Without it I wouldn’t have the job I now have, the friends that I now have, some of the clothes on my back and some of the food in my cupboard. I can’t thank everyone enough.”
What difference does business support make to a charity like the Big Issue Foundation?
Business support helps us make a tangible difference to the lives of some of the most disadvantaged people in the UK. Big Issue vendors have set up their own micro-enterprise in the midst of real adversity. They buy the Big Issue magazine for £1.25 and sell it on for £2.50. They do not receive refunds on the magazines they do not sell so have to budget, manage their stock and their customer base like any other business.
In this video, members of a team from a city law firm find out just how what it takes to be a Big Issue vendor
We’re looking for businesses who want to empower those who have taken their first steps on their journey to a better life. It’s not about a handout — it’s a hand up.