Big Issue Foundation

Improving Financial and Digital Inclusion

Connect is a new offering dedicated to the financial and digital inclusion of Big Issue vendors.

As we continue to expand our frontline Hand Up support, the Foundation is excited about Connect– a new offering dedicated to the financial and digital inclusion of Big Issue vendors.

Connect coaches vendors in core and essential digital skills, building on the success of cashless to continue vendors’ financial and digital inclusion journey.

Digital skills are essential for taking part in society. Nearly all jobs require a basic level of digital literacy, and more and more essential services are delivered online. Universal Credit, for example, requires an individual to be able to access and use an online journal.

On top of this, many money-saving opportunities, like price comparison and switching platforms and certain deals, can only be accessed online. Digital platforms are also a common way to connect with friends, family and take part in communities – so those without digital access and literacy are at greater risk of social exclusion.

Vendor outreach workers began delivering practical sessions in October. The sessions are focused on getting vendors online and using a smartphone or tablet. The aim of these sessions is to:

1) Give vendors digital skills to use smartphones or tablets

2) Provide access to further digital skills development, for example the Government-funded Essential Digital Skills qualification, which is accredited and can demonstrate digital literacy to an employer

By completing these sessions, vendors will have the digital skills to complete the government-funded Essential Digital Skills, which is an official qualification that can be used on their CV. 

We are excited to expand and develop Connect in conjunction with feedback from vendors to ensure we are delivering the support they require to thrive.

Connect has been made possible as part of a multi-year partnership between Citi Foundation and The Big Issue Foundation. With this long-term support, we have been able to gain an in-depth understanding of the digital barriers Big Issue vendors face and how this affects their access to financial services.  

Rachael Barber, Head of Community Relations at Citi EMEA says: “Providing vendors with access to financial tools and the opportunity to build basic business and digital skills, alongside English language lessons, will support socially and economically excluded people in the UK to work their way out of poverty. This third iteration of the collaboration with The Big Issue will enable hundreds more magazine vendors in the UK to improve their income at a time where economic resilience is needed more than ever.”

In this third year of the partnership we are introducing digital skills coaching to a further 200 vendors and have introduced peer workers to enable the most marginalised vendors to access this opportunity and develop their financial and digital literacy.

    Every copy counts this Winter

    Your local vendor is at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis this Winter. Prices of energy and food are rising rapidly. As is the cost of rent. All at their highest rate in 40 years. Vendors are amongst the most vulnerable people affected. Support our vendors to earn as much as they can and give them a fighting chance this Winter.

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