The Big Issue was launched in 1991 by Gordon Roddick and A. John Bird in response to the growing number of rough sleepers on the streets of London. The two believed that the key to solving the problem of homelessness lay in helping people to help themselves. Vendors buy their magazines with their own money and sell them at their own profit or loss.
To complement the self-help ethos of The Big Issue Magazine, The Big Issue Foundation was established in 1995 to link vendors with the vital support and services which help them address the issues that led to and have arisen as a result of being homeless.
Since its creation the Foundation has provided services and referrals to address issues around housing, health, finances, education, employment and personal aspirations.
In 2011/2012, The Big Issue continued to attract thousands of new vendors. Less than half the new vendors were still selling the magazine four weeks after their initial induction. In these hard times the demand for our support has never been greater.
In 2011/12 our outcomes increased by over 50%, rising to 2,492 from to 1,647 in 2010/11 (1,124 in 2009/10).
What our Vendors have achieved in the last year
Download our 2009 annual review (3.5MB PDF)
Download our Aspirations Week 2012 report (800KB PDF)