Today (Monday 17th January) The Big Issue has published its ‘Top 100 Changemakers’ list for 2023.
The magazine’s list showcases the top 100 Changemakers across housing and homelessness, cost of living crisis, environment, culture, health and wellbeing, education, employment and equality and refugees and asylum.
The top Changemakers range from teachers who without fuss started a foodbank in their school, to a man on the front line in Ukraine risking his life to help the devastated. There are many in-between, almost 100, including environment-fixing goats. For the first time, this year there is a category for those working to help people hammered by the cost-of-living crisis.
Among the rundown is Will Poulter, nominated in the cost-of-living crisis category, who is standing against societal inequality through his work with charity Turn2us. Turn2us helps people in financial hardship gain access to welfare benefits, grants and support services. “Lots of people have to work a great deal harder against a harder set of circumstances,” he told us. “More and more people are being forced into poverty, 14.4 million adults: 3.6 million children, in the UK. Those figures are really shameful.”
In the housing and homeless category is HomeLess Made, a social enterprise based in Hammersmith and Fulham, London, which provides connections through art. They support people experiencing homelessness or mental health difficulties to help them make money from artwork they produce at their drop-in centre. Working with artists to create commercial opportunities, they also offer materials and a quiet space to work. “Painting helps me get through the day and manage depression and anxiety,” says artist John Sheehy. “Participating with other artists is very inspiring, and it motivates me.”
Sean Irish at, Just Stop Oil, who have been nominated in the environment category, said: “Another year has gone by, and the stakes continue to rise. We have seen this government’s failings with the cost of living, energy, and climate crises; 2023 needs to be the year of civil resistance. If this government will not grant us a liveable future, then, like movements of the past, we will remove our consent to be governed and act in non-violent civil resistance until our rights are respected and protected.”