The number of Big Issue sellers needing help with critical food and fuel payments has increased seven-fold this Christmas as soaring energy bills and double-digit inflation push people living in poverty into impossible decisions amid the cost of living crisis.
Big Issue Group founder and crossbench peer, Lord Bird, has appealed to the public to help the organisation support its vendors, who are often among the most marginalised people in the UK.
“This winter is the worst in 45 years, with nearly seven million in fuel poverty, soaring rents and rapidly rising food prices and now our vendors have biting cold and snow to contend with,” said Lord Bird. “Which is why we are urging people to support our vendors by buying a subscription to the magazine this Christmas or make a contribution through our Foundation.”
- Read more about our vendors
- Want to earn some extra cash on your terms? Find out how to become a Big Issue vendor
The Big Issue magazine was founded as a street paper in 1991 to allow people experiencing homelessness to earn an income and support themselves out of poverty. Vendors buy copies of the magazine at half the cover price and sell them on to the public, keeping the difference.
Big Issue Group set up subscriptions to the magazine as a response to the pandemic crisis, allowing customers to link regular payments to vendors in their area, but the stable income provided has made it just as important throughout the cost of living crisis as it was during lockdown.
Jim Hannah, 63, sells the magazine on Dove Street in Norwich. He said: “My pitch is completely empty in the mornings so I’m doing late morning and into the afternoon. Those online subscriptions are bringing me back up to somewhere where I was before the pandemic.