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Big Issue nominated for 5 industry awards for Covid response

The Big Issue has been nominated for the PPA’s Best Response to Covid-19 Award, Editor of the Year, Campaign of the Year, Front Cover of the Year, and Innovation of the Year awards

The Big Issue has been nominated for five industry awards for its response to the coronavirus pandemic from the Professional Publisher’s Association.

After a year in which hundreds of vendors were unable to sell the magazine due to coronavirus restrictions, The Big Issue has been nominated for the PPA’s Best Response to Covid-19 Award, Editor of the Year, Campaign of the Year, Front Cover of the Year, and Innovation of the Year awards.

Big Issue editor Paul McNamee said: “We’re proud today that the work of so many is being held up and celebrated.

“We’re also proud that readers, new and old, came with us, helped us reinvigorate, helped us get £1million to our vendors in the teeth of this crisis, and have returned with us as we return to the streets.”

The vendors who sell The Big Issue magazine are people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, buying copies from the social enterprise for £1.50 and selling them in their local communities for £3.

But Big Issue staff were forced to reinvent the brand’s business model almost overnight after the prime minister announced pandemic restrictions in March 2020.

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The social enterprise launched an app and online subscriptions linked to vendors through a vendor map, as well as selling the print magazine in high-street stores for the first time, to keep revenues flowing while offering its vendors ongoing support when they were unable to sell The Big Issue on the streets.

By February 2021, and through successive lockdowns, more than £1 million had been given to vendors in the UK as The Big Issue website broke successive records for visitors through the publication’s mix of breaking news, high-profile interviews, cultural coverage and self-help articles to dismantle poverty and create opportunity.

“This year has been the most testing in the history of The Big Issue,” McNamee continued.

“As the enormity of the first lockdown hit, we stared down the barrel. It was a crisis that could have done for us. And therefore left thousands of the most disenfranchised people in Britain, our vendors, alone.

“But The Big Issue stood up, rallied and then soared. It was incredibly hard but every person within The Big Issue organisation faced in one direction, kept things going and built solid new foundations for the future.”

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