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Big Issue Foundation

A week in the life of a service broker: Jenna Soame, London

We speak to a lot of people creating awareness for The Big Issue’s work. It’s especially satisfying to hear the volunteers talk so avidly about The Big issue to those interested.

Monday

I arrive at work and someone is already filling out an induction form to sign up to be a vendor. With a volunteer we taker her through how The Big issue works, where she’ll be training and show her a video introducing high-selling vendors and their top sales techniques. She leaves us confident, motivated and ready to go. In the afternoon we visit her on her pitch to find she has sold her first 3 magazines and treated herself to a hot lunch with her taking; her first in a few days.

Tuesday

Every Tuesday at 10am we run a sales drop-in workshop which we ask every new vendor to attend. Today 4 vendors came; one spent time to find the right pitch for them, a Sainsbury’s in the area they knew well, and another was putting a deposit down for their tabard after using our savings advice. An experienced vendor also came to share his bestselling tips with the newer vendors.

Wednesday

We have recently taken a new group of volunteers and today I took 3 on a walk around some of the distribution points around the city to meet the vendor coordinators who run them, vendors in the area, and to explain more about The Big Issue. This is to give them a sense of how we work on the street and to see how to run “on-street-offices”. In the afternoon I team up the volunteers with experienced vendors to have a go at selling the magazine – the perfect exercise to add credibility when training new vendors. It starts raining halfway through leading them to have an even great admiration for the determination and motivation of the vendors we work with.

Thursday

Our outreach team refer a vendor on to us – he has been selling for 3 weeks but is really struggling with sales. I go to visit him on a pitch with a volunteer and we give him some new ideas of sales techniques, buy him a coffee and have a chat to reduce the loneliness of selling on the street. He needs more help with getting access to accommodation and we refer him on The Big Issue Foundation’s service broker Matt and make an appointment for him to see him and discuss further.

Friday

With two volunteers I go to recruitment fair at a local volunteer centre. We’ve worked a lot together in the past as they used to provide courses for volunteers from mental health awareness to how to motivate and reward volunteers. We speak to a lot of people creating awareness for The Big Issue’s work. It’s especially satisfying to hear the volunteers talk so avidly about The Big issue to those interested. Having only been with us for a few months so far they have really grown and learnt and speak so passionately about our work and our vendors. True lifelong ambassadors for The Big Issue.

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