A transformational partnership - now nominated for the Sports Business Awards 2018!

We are thrilled that our partnership with Southampton Football Club has been shortlisted as a finalist for the Sports Innovation Award at the Sports Business Awards 2018.

This is primarily focused around the opportunities the club has offered Big Issue vendors. This includes vendors selling a special edition of The Big Issue magazine (as part of the match day programme) at the first match of the season as well as four Big Issue vendors going on to secure jobs at the club following their participation in the Saints Foundation employability programme.

Following the programme, Gary Jackson, June Fullerton and Julie Cherry all secured stewarding roles at St Mary’s Stadium, whilst vendor Aaron New, who also completed a Level 1 accreditation in customer service as well as CV writing workshops and mock interviews, gained employment in Halo conferences and events at the club. During their time on the programme, the vendors were supported and encouraged by the wonderful team at the Saints Foundation, who run the programme, as well as our dedicated front line team based in Bournemouth.

Gary, who was unemployed for 18 months before he secured work with The Big Issue, said: “Southampton Football Club and Saints Foundation have given me the inspiration and emotional support to completely change my outlook on life. I’ve began to believe in myself again, and I’ve been inspired to always do my best.”

Serena Crisp, Head of Partnerships and Philanthropy at The Big Issue Foundation, said: "We have been delighted at how the partnership with Saints has evolved; creating opportunity, hope and purpose for those so often marginalised within our society. The partnership offers so much potential and we are excited about further plans to work together in the coming months; watch this space!"

Greg Baker, Head of Saints Foundation, added: “We are really proud to have worked with The Big Issue across the course of the 2017/18 season. From the launch of our world-first matchday magazine in August, and throughout the subsequent employability programme delivered for Big Issue vendors at St Mary’s Stadium, it has been clear that the values and objectives of the two organisations align perfectly. It is also fantastic that, after really embracing the opportunity that the employability programme provided, Gary, Julie, June and Aaron were able to gain well-deserved employment within the club. Well done to all of them on that great achievement. It’s been a really exciting and fruitful partnership so far, and we look forward to maintaining and growing our relationship with The Big Issue for many years to come.”