Back in March, a remarkable thing happened. Not that thing. Related to that, but not exactly that.
Out of the first lockdown came our call. We asked that you got behind The Big Issue as we removed vendors from the streets. We called on you to help us to help our vendors as their income dried to zero. And you did.
With no hesitation, so many of you got on board with our push for subscriptions and donated to our vendor support fund. Within just a few weeks we were able to hand money to vendors. More than £600,000 in cash, or shopping vouchers or whatever useful things we could get to them over the lockdown period. It was an incredible thing.
One moment stands out. On a particular Thursday morning the first of the new subscriptions that you took started landing on doormats. Through the day, you began to share images on social media. At first slowly, then in a glorious flood. And there was something incredibly moving seeing those images and brief films. The thought that out of a genuine existential crisis a solution was being found. And that in Britain there was deep and abiding affection for The Big Issue. We’ve known that it existed but having it presented like that just knocked my socks off.
It was only a few weeks ago but the sensation is hardwired now. Goosebumps and emotions rise at the memory.
There was a sense around that similar emotions were triggered when, despite expert guidance on a Covid vaccine urging caution and making it clear that nothing was coming until we were well into spring, up popped Pfizer.