On the evening of Friday 3rd March 2017, over 300 walkers and Big Issue vendors gathered at St John’s Church in Waterloo to take on The Big Night Walk, a 20km night-time walk around the capital.
Walkers were welcomed by fantastic volunteers, Big Issue vendors and Big Issue Foundation staff to the church to collect their maps and jackets, whilst listening to the beautiful sound of London City Voices Choir. Walkers were prepped for the night ahead with snacks generously donated from 9Bar, which were quickly snapped up, along with plenty of cakes, biscuits and Graze goodies kindly donated by City Harvest.
The evening began with a warm welcome from Stephen Robertson, Chief Executive of The Big Issue Foundation, who reminded the walkers why this night was so vital to the work The Big Issue Foundation do. Next, Big Issue vendor Bill from Bournemouth took to the stage to tell his story and how The Big Issue Foundation helped him “I was able to access the Vendor Support Fund to help buy essentials for my new council flat I’ve recently secured, making my new place feel like a home with all the pieces I need”, showing the walkers how their fundraising makes a difference to Big Issue vendor’s lives.
This was followed by a much-loved speech from James Bowen & Street Cat Bob, who thanked walkers for their support for The Big Issue Foundation. Lastly, CJ De Mooi warmed up the walkers with some fun stretches and helped create an exciting and buzzing atmosphere for the walk ahead.
The walkers, joined by Big Issue vendors Bill, Sean, Lionel, Sue and Simon, headed off into the night, crossing the river Thames towards our first rest stop – Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, who are one of our Corporate Partners and take part in our vendor placement scheme. Here a short film about George, a vendor who benefitted from a corporate placement, was shown to walkers and refreshments were kindly provided by Freshfields.
Next it was time to head north through the City, towards St James’ Church in Islington. Here the walkers were greeted by vendor Steve and his lovely dog Skye, alongside our team of energetic volunteers, to hot drinks and a selection of Primal Pantry bars to keep spirits up. As James Bowen & Street Cat Bob used to have their pitch nearby in Angel, this space was dedicated to a special display for these two.