In 2007, James Bowen, a recovering heroin addict, found an injured cat curled up on a step when he himself was living in sheltered accommodation. The two became inseparable and Bob and James very literally saved each other. A few years later James wrote his first book about his unique relationship with Bob, A Street Cat Named Bob, which has now gone on to be an international best-seller, selling over 3 million copies and be translated into 35 languages.
Here you can read all the latest fundraising and charity news from The Big Issue Foundation, keeping you up to date with our charity work to help people who are homeless across the UK. Whether it’s a message from our CEO, or the voice of someone that actually spent time sleeping rough on the streets, here you can read all the latest from The Big Issue Foundation.
We run a wide range of charity events throughout the year, so here is the best place to keep up with the progress and funds that have been raised for the less fortunate in the UK. If you are considering volunteering for The Big Issue Foundation, then here you can also see some of the ways that people have raised money in the past to get people off the streets.
Stories from those who have been unfortunate enough to live on the street are also posted here, helping to give you an insight into the difficulties that our Big Issue vendors are faced with every day.
If you are inspired by any of the stories found here, why not donate to The Big Issue Foundation today? There is a range of ways that your money can be used to help those who are homeless across the UK take control of their lives.
What we do is not rocket science. We help people right when they need it. Often with simple grants through our Vendor Support Fund that can make a big impact on the lives of our vendors. One application that was recently approved was for Mark’s new business. In his own words…
"My name is Mark. I started selling The Big Issue thirteen years ago. A friend told me about The Big Issue and suggested that I get a badge."
As the sun shone on Wednesday 2nd July Zoe Rainey and Ben Stock were relieved that their short experience of selling The Big Issue on the streets of central London would at least be in pleasant weather! They weren’t sure exactly what to expect from the other elements of their time with their vendor mentor, but I think it’s fair to say they were both surprised by how hard work the job is, the great feeling they got from selling a magazine and the reflections they had on the people who were passing them by.
My name is Josie and I am a Big Issue vendor in Bournemouth.
There was a chain of events that led to me becoming homeless, and it all started when my brother died of a heroin overdose. My Mum then took her own life, and I found myself turning to drugs for comfort. This gradually got worse, and as a result I lost my children to social services, and then consequently lost my council house as I did not meet the requirement for the house without my children. So, I found myself on the streets, with a drug problem, and in desperate need of money. No one should have to be where I was.
We are delighted and relieved to let everyone know that Ralph & Jess were happily reunited yesterday. Whilst Ralph was desperately searching for lost Jess, she made her own way back to where they were sleeping and was waiting for him when he returned! An emotional reunion to say the least.
Urgent Help Needed - please share on facebook and twitter
Big Issue vendor Ralph set off a few days ago to fulfil a lifelong ambition to sail along the south coast with his best friend, his dog Jess.
I’ve been an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) tutor in Birmingham for ten years, teaching English to adults in further education colleges. It’s a world governed by rigid systems, tough targets and formal exams. A year ago I’d had enough, and quit my job to become a writer. I was however keen to keep my teaching muscles flexed. I knew, through my friend Susannah, that the Big Issue ran ESOL classes, so I let her know I’d be happy to help out if they ever needed an extra pair of hands. Shortly after, one of their volunteer teachers left and I found myself having to make good on my promise.
I learnt about the Big Issue Foundation quite recently, through a series of coincidences, not the least of which is that my next door neighbour works for the Foundation in Birmingham. I knew that Susannah had something to do with the Big Issue, but it was only when I happened to witness the tremendous support that she was providing towards an ex vendor (not even a current one!) that I began to realise that there was more to The Big Issue than selling magazines.
Susannah invited me to visit The Big Issue offices in Birmingham, and I saw her and her colleagues taking the time to chat to the vendors who came in, discussing whatever was on their minds and tactfully checking they were okay. When I told others at my firm all about the good, pragmatic, non-patronising help that the Foundation provides we agreed we wanted to get involved. We offered to man a weekly drop-in advice centre, and signed a team up to take part in a "Vendor day".
Northern Trust, one of three companies in London enabling vendors to sell their magazines in their offices, has congratulated Ron Heap on selling more than 1000 editions of The Big Issue magazine to its employees in Canary Wharf.
During the last six months, the company has offered Ron the opportunity to sell his magazines on one day each week as part of its commitment to support the local community. Northern Trust is the only bank in the UK to have an on-site Big Issue vendor as part of The Big Issue Foundation’s corporate placement programme.
This morning we received a delightful email from Dumitru, who wanted to share his story of how his life was turned around after he started selling The Big Issue.
Simon, our Service Broker, remembers both Dumitru and his wife clearly and told us his part of the story.