Tom Belte, Area Service Broker, explains how our small team works with over 250 vendors across the Midlands.
“The Midlands of the UK are managed by two Big Issue distribution service points; the team who work in these offices have to cover a large geographical area with a high total of vendors. That means the Big Issue Vendor you will see working outside of the Bullring in Birmingham city centre or a vendor who sells in the small town of Beeston in the outskirts of Nottingham are all engaged in the foundation services, mathematically this ranges from 250 vendors between both offices.
With that daily challenge, vendor services are managed by two full time members of staff in Birmingham and one part time member of staff in Nottingham, this shows the significance of a challenge immediately, we have to be practical and innovative in the way we bring services to our vendors.
We have a team that is dedicated to the cause of The Big Issue Foundation; Service Brokers have to be capable of being competent with good flexibility and a high standard of hands-on support guided always at a self help model, vendors can expect to go through a journey model of service brokerage with a support plan which matches the individual needs of each vendor as well as their aspirations for the future.
A knowledge of established homeless services to match vendors needs are always essential and staff can expect to be each day referring a vendor to a local housing trust in Worcestershire whilst also accessing Big Issue funding through the Vendor Support Fund, it could also be a day where a member of staff is supporting a vendor on a corporate pitch by helping the vendor with their own individual sales skills and pitch management whilst also liaising with the business who has offered the placement.
Ollie left and Tom right
Our team endeavours to bring bespoke and sustainable guidance to each vendor by managing a vital support model to Big Issue vendors so that they carry on to be safe, secure and ready to move on as they continue to make their own legitimate earnings on the streets of the Midlands.”
Ollie, a Vendor in Birmingham who sells at the Pavilion's pitch :
“The Big Issue has helped me to make friends, gain confidence and earn some genuine job satisfaction, I have also accessed the vendor support fund to help me make my move on flat at The Salvation Army more comfortable - I purchased with Tom bedding, kitchen items, pots and pans as well as cutlery, it helped a lot”.
Elliot Schofield, a vendor in Birmingham, will be riding the Foundation's London to Paris in July 2013. Here explains just what the Big Issue and our support.
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