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Press Release

Lord John Bird, Founder of The Big Issue, calls for public support in wake of restrictions

– With quieter high streets at what would ordinarily be the busiest time of year, Lord Bird is calling for people to buy from local vendor or subscribe
– Organisation managed to support network of 1,300 vendors with over £1m of support in lockdown

Today (Thursday 16th December) Lord John Bird, Founder of The Big Issue, has called upon the public to urgently support the organisation and its 1,300 vendors at a time of crisis this Christmas by supporting their local vendor or subscribing.

Following the Government announcement that England would enter “Plan B” restrictions on Wednesday 8th December, Lord Bird, has called on people across the UK to support their local vendor if they can or, alternatively if they cannot get to their local vendor, to support them by taking out a subscription.

Big Issue vendors are self-employed, buying magazines for £2 before selling them on for £4 and cannot work from home.

Christmas would usually be the busiest time of year for Big Issue vendors.

During the two lockdowns, due to the incredible generosity of members of the public and businesses, The Big Issue was able to work closely with vendors and offer emotional as well as financial support.

Lord John Bird, Founder of The Big Issue, said: “We managed to weather the last 18 months but, this Christmas, our vendors’ livelihoods hang off the edge of a precipice.

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“Our vendors have no choice but to ‘work from home’ on the streets, which are, once again, quieter and present less of an opportunity to earn their way out of trying circumstances to a more promising future.

“The vendors need you more than ever before and we would love you wonderful people to make buying The Big Issue a part of your yearly Christmas traditions, as much as buying the Christmas pudding, gifts for family and friends or decorating your Christmas tree are.”

“Please buy a copy of the magazine this week from your local vendor and if you can’t then please subscribe online and help someone living in poverty to lift themselves up and out.”

Hugh McErlean, a Big Issue vendor, who sells the magazine in London, said: “The rule change means sales are down, it’s been empty with nobody buying the magazine in the last few days and it should be the busiest time of year.”

Sam Woodlock, a Big Issue vendor, in London, said: “It’s not great just before Christmas. Since people have been told to work from home, they’re doing what they’re told and there’s no one out here. The fact is Big Issue vendors can’t work from home. If you can support your local vendor, please do.”

Please buy a copy of the magazine from your local vendor or buy a subscription at www.bigissue.com/subscribe.

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