Big Issue Foundation

Putting His Best Foot Forward

Paul is a new vendor who sells the magazine in Bridgend, South Wales. Through Big Issue Foundation’s Vendor Support Fund we’ve helped Paul to improve his health and wellbeing.

Paul is a new vendor who sells the magazine in Bridgend, South Wales.  

He got into trouble when he was younger due to drug use and spent time in prison. After being released, Paul ended up working in factories and did some serious hours, but wasn’t enjoying that line of work. It was also taking its toll on his body and mind. 

Paul heard from a friend about The Big Issue and signed up in December. He is now one of the top sellers in the country and really enjoys working for himself. He loves speaking to his regulars outside Tesco, where he’s become a familiar face. 

Paul has recently given up drinking thanks to the routine The Big Issue has given him, and he’s started to focus on his health. He started running but soon realised it wasn’t for him so he searched for other ways to exercise. 

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The Big Issue Foundation is changing lives through enterprise for vendors and other marginalised groups.

He has now taken up rucking, which involves putting weights (or bottles of water in Paul’s case) in a backpack and going walking. He tells us this burns the same calories as running and he has really taken to it. 

Paul had mentioned to staff that he got quite lonely, because he was new to Bridgend and didn’t know many people. We discovered that there is a local ramblers club who go for walks of between five and 15 miles on Sundays. We thought this would be a great way for Paul to exercise and meet people.

Paul loved the idea and through the Vendor Support Fund he got waterproof walking boots and trousers. He is really looking forward to going out on walks with the club and getting stuck in.

The Vendor Support Fund (VSF) enables Big Issue vendors to achieve employment, training and other personal aspirations which require financial support. Vendors are helped to identify goals and aspirations and assisted to complete an application form. They then save and contribute a discretionary amount – typically 20-50% – towards their chosen cost with the VSF covering the remainder. The VSF is entirely funded by donations.

Every copy counts this Christmas

Your local vendor is at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis this Christmas. 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 Christmas.

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