The personal note from Prince William was a surprise for Big iSsue sellers as they picked up their magazines. Image: Suzanne Flynn/The Big Issue
Prince William has written a heartfelt note to Big Issue sellers as he features on the magazine’s cover this week, describing the “inspiring” time he spent selling the magazine and his hopes for their futures.
In the letter, delivered to each Big Issue vendor as they collected their magazines to sell on to members of the public, the Duke of Cambridge wrote that he recognises the steps “each and every one of you are taking… to set your lives up on a different path”.
“Please know that I am thinking of you all and will continue to do so, not just now in the summer months, but also when the winter starts to bite, and you are still out there selling,” he wrote.
The experience was “truly eye opening” alongside vendor Dave Martin, he said, as the pair sold to punters in London’s Westminster.
In the letter, he shared his realisation that “many people look straight through you” and the impact this could have on vendors’ own sense of worth.
“I know the past two years have been particularly tough because of the huge dip in sales as a result of the pandemic,” wrote the Duke.
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When the UK-wide lockdown was announced in March 2020, overnight more than 1,000 Big Issue vendors were suddenly unable to sell the magazine on their pitches. The Big Issue had to adapt fast, by going cashless to equip vendors with more hygienic card-readers, and launching a magazine subscription option to get cash in the pockets of vendors even when they have to stay home.
“I hope business is starting to pick up again, and that you’re getting back on your feet,” William added in encouragement.
A few weeks ago, I stood in your shoes joining an amazing Big Issue vendor in selling magazines in central London. I did so because after years of learning about the challenges many of you face, I wanted to see the other side – how each and every one of you are taking the steps to set your lives on a different path by building your own small businesses.
The reality was even more inspiring than I’d anticipated. However, a different reality also dawned on me: that even as you work tirelessly to better yourselves, many people looked straight through you. Lives are often so busy these days with people rushing from meeting to meeting, school drop off to desk, that we aren’t able to see what’s happening around us. And I saw the consequence that could have on your own sense of worth.
Added to that, I know the past two years have been particularly tough because of the huge dip in sales as a result of the pandemic. I hope business is now starting to pick up again, and that you’re getting back on your feet.
Finally, please know that I am thinking of you all and will continue to do so, not just now in the summer months but also when the winter starts to bite, and you are still out there selling.
With my best wishes,
p.s. I hope I don’t hamper your sales too much this week!!
Want to buy a copy of the magazine? We have over 1,200 Big Issue vendors in the UK. Each vendor buys a copy of the mag for £1.50 and sells it for £3, keeping the difference. Visit our interactive map to find your nearest vendor and support them today!