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SPRAY THE WORD

Street Art has something ‘BIG’ to say

The streets are the world’s biggest art gallery, communicating to the community in an everyday setting. Big Issue Vendors do just the same, visibly working in the community, vying for customer attention and challenging perceptions of homeless people as they seek to work their way out of homelessness.

On the week beginning Monday March the 11th, Big Issue vendors will become the unique distributors of an exclusive series of posters by the world renowned street artist, Stik. The posters will only be available in the Big Issue magazine for 1 week. There are 4 different versions to collect and, to get hold of them, the public will need to find a vendor and buy their magazine; the starting point of change for vendors country wide.

 

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Big Issue worker takes on the Virgin London Marathon for The Big Issue Foundation

I have now been volunteering and working for The Big Issue South West and The Big Issue East Midlands in various different capacities for the past 18 months. I really enjoy working in my current position in the East Midlands and am an avid supporter of how the organisation works.

I thought it was time that I got more involved in The Big Issue Foundation and having taken part in the first Big Brum night walk last year, I thought it was about time I aim for the big one – The London Marathon.

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The Big Noise: Small Sessions

Over the next few months, leading up to a beautiful summertime, The Big Noise 2013 presents a series of fantastic fundraisers in aid of The Big Issue Foundation.

The events comprise a series of small arts and music festivals, Big Noise: Small Sessions, in the build up to a huge and multi-spatial arts festival at The Bussey Building / CLF Arts Cafe on 8th June 2013.

The first build-up fundraiser is due to take place on Sunday 3rd March from 3pm at The Speakeasy within Hackney Downs Studios and we are pretty excited about it.

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‘Wellbeing Week’ Report – Fighting off the winter blues in Bristol

The most depressing week of the year is known as ‘blue monday’ and traditionally falls in the last full week of January. To help inject a little optimism the Big Issue office in Bristol ran their very first ‘Wellbeing Week’ for Bristol vendors.

Programme Review

Monday: Two vendors and several volunteers attended First Aid training delivered by the Red Cross. Each vendor who attended received some discounted magazines, a goody bag; and a raffle ticket. Four vendors attended an 'English for speakers of other languages' course, which was themed around ‘wellbeing’.

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Virgin London Marathon runner Henry Freeman talks about why he has chosen to run and fundraise for The Big Issue Foundation

So I've found myself on track to run a marathon, my first! What made me sign up and why have I chosen to run for the great cause that is The Big Issue Foundation?

I signed up for a challenge, to become more focused and to achieve something I never believed I could. I've never bitten off something that is likely to be so physically.. well, physical and take dedication to training.

I wanted to do it for The Big Issue Foundation because at this time of economic doom many more are finding themselves in situations they never dreamed of being in – homelessness and poverty are generally not career choices!

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The Secret Showcase Presents… The Big Pancake Party

Sam Scuffham (Musician & Big Issue Foundation Ambassador) is hosting the Big Pancake Party to raise funds for The Big Issue Foundation on Pancake Tuesday.

“Over the last two years I have been involved in events that the Big Issue have put on to raise awareness for issues on homelessness. Being involved really does open your eyes as you become witness to how hard the charity and their volunteers work to help vendors to improve their lives. I have heard triumphant stories from vendors about how the with help and opportunities the Big Issue Foundation have been able to provide, they have turned their lives around. As much as we all love a success story, It's hard for any charity to be able to provide for everyone who is in need but I believe that if we could all do something we enjoy and raise a little more money for a charity we feel passionate about at the same time we can all make a difference to help extend the opportunities to reach out to more people. More success stories all around please… With a pancake for good measure.” Sam Scuffham.

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Over 400 vendors participated in our annual ‘Health Week’

What is Health Week?

Health Week is The Big Issue’s initiative to encourage a healthier lifestyle among its vendors, through assessing their health and offering ideas and information on how to adopt a healthier lifestyle. We deliver a week of activities focusing on increasing access to health services amongst vendors.

Studies have indicated that eight in ten homeless people has a physical health need, and seven in ten have at least one mental health problem, making such an initiative particularly important for the colder winter months. In line with the ethos of The Big Issue, we aim to encourage the development of long term skills offering a number of drop-ins and workshops for vendors, designed to encourage a self-sufficient approach to personal hygiene and diet, as well as the management of any particular health needs with reference to relevant specialists.

Our survey revealed health problems such as heart conditions, asthma, diabetes, liver problems, rheumatism, angina, bad knees, kidney and back problems. 46% of vendors surveyed revealed that they problems with their teeth.

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Big Issue Vendor Neil Harvey Pays Tribute To Wayne & Ian

Friday January 11th 2013 started much the same as any other day. I had my usual breakfast of Rice Krispies, then made my way to the Big Issue Office on Summer Lane, Birmingham.

I arrived at the offices at approximately 9am, and asked to book the Union Street pitch, at which I heard a mumble behind me. Turning around, I found it to be Wayne, another Trainee Vendor. He had wanted to work Union Street, so I said he could have it, and I would work Colmore Row/Pigeon Park instead.

I had no idea that this would be the last time I would see him.

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Staff Tributes to Wayne and Ian

The Big Issue Birmingham Team Remember Wayne and Ian.

Ian Watson-Gladwish was a very special person, a mild-mannered man, who was very much liked by both vendors and staff in the office alike. He always wanted to make people laugh, and had an enormous grin which he flashed every time he came in to the office.

He always wanted to know how you were: whatever problems he was dealing with himself, he always wanted to find out how things were going for you. He had a lovely manner with his customers, and was always polite, courteous and friendly.

Ian embraced selling the magazine at Christmas by wearing a Santa hat and singing Jingle Bells at the top of his voice to anyone walking past, changing the words to suit his sales patter. He was a kind man, who would always put himself out to help someone, and to give help to new vendors.

Ian spoke regularly about his enormous love for his wife, children and sister, who he would do anything for, and cared very deeply for. He made friends easily and was someone vendors turned to with their problems, even if they hadn't known him long. I do feel very privileged to have known Ian, and he will be very much missed.

Wayne Busst very special person; he was always a quiet and inconspicuous individual I spent a lot of time working with him to support him through his time at The Big Issue and throughout this time Wayne without failure would always mention his family and how much they meant to him, specifically his mom who he always referred to as his best friend. He would also talk about his family with a smile on his face; they kept him going through the tough times.

Wayne also had a lot of thoughts and plans that he loved to share; usually big and happy memories of being with his family and then honest and worthy plans for his future that he wished for. He aspired to be a good person and although I am sad he did not realise this reality, I always thought of him as a good person.

Wayne was capable without any secret motive to make friends easily; this came from his likeable nature – a lot of people spent a lot of time with him. Although Wayne was homeless he had a lot of other non-material things to offer.

He sold The Big Issue and had his own worries and difficulties but he always maintained a kind and considerate individuality, capable of seeing things from other people's perspectives in such a naturally altruistic way. Wayne will be missed by all that knew him, we will always think of him and we are greatly sorry that this has happened.

By Big Issue Foundation staff – Tom Belte & Susannah Wilson