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Press Release

Bournemouth-based Big Issue vendors to feature in The Big Issue’s Christmas campaign calling for public support as vendors face hard Winter ahead with quieter high streets across the UK

Four Bournemouth vendors, Julie, Rahela, Rodney and Ramona, are to be the stars of The Big Issue’s campaign

Today on World Kindness Day (Saturday 13th November) Julie Cherry, will be the first of four vendors, featured by The Big Issue in the organisation’s Christmas campaign, The Big Wish, where she will reveal her wish for this Christmas.

Julie’s wish will be a part of The Big Issue’s digital campaign calling for public support for the 1,300 vendors across the UK who are facing high streets with reduced footfall due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

Julie’s wish this Christmas is “for more kindness. She explained that “everyone could do with more clothes or food, but I really wish for more kindness. Last year, people showed a lot of kindness during the pandemic, but this has disappeared in recent times. And I hope it will return!”

Explaining what led Julie to becoming homeless, she said: “I hadn’t been well for a while, and in the end, I lost my flat and my job as well as all my savings. I became homeless. It is terrifying being homeless and a lot more challenging as a woman. Luckily, I got a place in a hostel within a few weeks.”

She continued: “Selling The Big Issue gave me an identity beyond being homeless. People talked to me, I no longer felt like an outcast; in fact, I made a whole new set of friends. I decided that if I focused on selling the magazine, I would be able to start getting my life back together and move on from the hostel.”

Julie now lives in a flat with her dog Jack and has completed qualifications in First Aid, Customer Service and Stewarding. This meant she was able to take up a job as a Safety Steward for Bournemouth Football Club, which she does alongside selling The Big Issue.

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Over the next two months, The Big Issue will reveal the three other Bournemouth-based Big Issue vendors wishes, as part of their digital campaign. A sneak peek of their wishes is included below:

Ramona Dumitru said: “I would love to treat my children to a Christmas feast this year.”

Rahela Bujor said: “I hope for this year to be much better than last year. Last year was so hard. I hope I can have a nice year with my children and treat them to a nice Christmas! I also wish for my health and for everyone else’s health”

Rodney Lyall said: “I wish for a place to call my own.” Rodney is renting at the moment and wishes for a home that he can call his own.

The Big Issue, which offers homeless and vulnerably housed people a means by which to earn a legitimate income, has launched its Christmas campaign, The Big Wish to highlight the challenging circumstances magazine vendors are facing at what should be their busiest time of year.

Lord John Bird, Founder of The Big Issue, said: “Our Big Issue vendors used to thrive in Winter but with much quieter high-streets, they’re now struggling to get by, more than ever before.

“We all have Christmas wishes and our vendors are no exception. Our vendors are working hard this Christmas to achieve their Christmas wishes by selling The Big Issue. Whether it’s saving to take their son out for the day or a train ticket home to see their family.

“With your support, you can help us be here for our vendors this Christmas. That’s because every time you buy a copy of The Big Issue, subscribe or donate, you are helping our vendors to work their way out of poverty by providing ‘a hand up not a hand out. You’re helping Big Issue vendors achieve their Big Wish.”

The Big Issue recently celebrated its 30th Birthday, in that time, the organisation has helped over 105,000 vendors earn over £144 million. To support “The Big Wish” appeal, you can buy a copy of the magazine or a subscription from your local vendor so they receive 50% of the profits. Alternatively, you can make a donation to The Big Issue Foundation. Visit bigissue.com/bigwish.

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