This week up to 1,400 Big Issue vendors across England and Wales returned eagerly to their pitches to sell the magazine for the first time since the third national lockdown.
Lord Bird, founder of The Big Issue (TBI) marked the return of the vendors being able to sell by meeting with four London-Based vendors at St Martins in the Fields on Trafalgar Square, where the first-ever edition of the magazine was officially launched nearly 30 years ago.
TBI, which offers homeless and vulnerably housed people a means by which to earn a legitimate income, has taken the decision over the past three national lockdowns to safeguard its network of vendors and the public by asking that they stop selling on streets across the whole of the UK.
Following announcements by the government regarding the easing of restrictions, the organisation confirmed that magazine vendors will be back out selling the magazine for the first time in over 22 weeks since lockdown.
TBI has taken measures including the provision of extensive PPE, contactless card payment equipment and the introduction of stringent health and safety procedures in all distribution offices to ensure vendors’ and customers safety remains paramount.
Dave Martin, 59, who usually sells the magazine outside Tesco, Hammersmith, London, said:
“When I get back to selling the magazine I hope I see everyone. You get a connection, you have a rapport and I hope everyone is okay with Covid going on. The Big Issue’s staff have welcomed me back and I like to be here. It’s a social thing. It’s not just about selling the magazine.”
Lord John Bird, founder of The Big Issue said: “We are full of pride and hope that, after over 22 weeks of being in lockdown, our vendors are back out there, able to reconnect with their local communities and earn a legitimate income once again.
“As ever, we wish to thank all those who have so generously supported us and our vendors during this challenging time. Every donation and subscription that has been made or taken out, has meant that we have been able to support vendors while they have been unable to sell the magazine safely on the streets.
“Please look out for your local vendor back on their pitch from today. We would encourage anyone who doesn’t have a local vendor and wants to support our mission to help people in poverty improve their lives to buy a subscription to the magazine. We’ve have missed you all and we are so pleased to be back.”