Vendor Stories

Ian's Story

It’s been a long year for me with some highs and lows the high was starting my social enterprise ‘Duff Cooks’ and the lows the death of my father.

I started ‘Duffcook’s as a means to give something back. It is a social enterprise that will help the homeless and long term unemployed learn how to cook the basics and how to eat to feel good .The idea is a simple one, I offer an at home catering service and monies earned through this help me to teach people to cook. So far I have run several drop-in sessions with the help of DHI Project which have proved popular but I want to expand on that to reach out to more people and set up a more established work shop.

Derek's Story

A very big well done to Derek Doggett who has won the September Vendor Achievement Award in Oxford for his brilliant hard work. The Oxford Vendor of the Month Award has been running for two months, after it was inaugurated in August. Derek is our second winner. The award serves to recognise and reward the progress our vendors have made towards social and financial inclusion over the previous month. Winners are selected according to : general good conduct, attitude and commitment; efforts to improve sales; positive public feedback; and progress towards personal goals. Each month the staff team in Oxford consider candidates against these criteria when deciding on a winner.

Sammy's Story

This is Sammy and he is 22

He is taking part in our Vendor Development Programme with a law firm in central London, where the vendor goes into the workplace and sells the magazine one day a week. This is also a chance for Sammy to work with a mentor at the law firm who will guide him through training as part of the project.

Terry's Story

I needed to get my life back on track.

I found myself homeless for a long period, stuck living in a hostel. I felt like I needed to get my life back on track and thought becoming a Big Issue Vendor would allow me to do so. I also thought it would be a good way to meet and talk to some new people.

I have a good number of stories as a Big Issue vendor. I got to meet Russell Brand and even the Dalai Lama! Once I got to meet Stephen Fry when he was filming a TV programme about the city. A picture of us even ended up in the magazine! That was a nice momento.

Phil’s Story

“I’m made up that after 20 years, I have my full licence.”

Congratulations to Phil who has won the Vendor Achievement Award in Oxford for his continued excellent customer relations and his hard work towards his goals. The award of a £20 gift voucher and certificate were presented by Sergeant Miriam Purple of Thames Valley Police at the end of the sales and money themed fortnight. The Sales and Money Fortnight is one of three themed events in Oxford; the others are Aspirations and Health Weeks. During these weeks there are various different opportunities to engage with other services in the local area.

Alan's Story

Alan is a Big Issue seller by St Paul’s Cathedral in London, and also a keen writer. Looking for inspiration for his writing, Alan travelled to ‘the beautiful city of Amsterdam’ in January 2010. Here, he sold the street magazine “Z” , during Holland’s coldest winter for 30 years.

Mick's Story

Three months ago we shared Mick's story a Big Issue seller from Birmingham. Mick was on a journey to find peace with his past and an opportunity to look to the future. The Big Issue Foundation supported Mick to get a passport so that he could be reunited with his Mum in Tenerife after 27 years apart. We are so happy to report that three weeks ago, Mick, along with his brother and sister, travelled to Spain and reconnected with his family. This trip allowed Mick to finally bring peace to a part of his life and end a lifetime of questions.

Darren's Story

“Every single customer of mine has been so helpful. They have changed my life”

“I've just got my first house. I’m in private rented accommodation now. There is nothing much in it yet – a TV, chair and a cooker – but I love it to bits. My landlord knew me because I’ve been on this pitch for a few years. He used to stop and chat, and then one day he walked up and said: “I have a house for you!” I was gobsmacked. I am still over the moon but it has also made me lonely. I’m used to living on top of other people at B&Bs. I have never had a house on my own.”

Bean's Story

Bean Stocks has been working with The Big Issue for several years, initially as a vendor and then as a vendor co-ordinator, selling magazines to other vendors and assisting new vendors at our distribution point in Victoria.

After living in Spain for a number of years and with the tenancy on his flat coming to an end he returned to the UK without anywhere to live and a serious lack of funds. He was previously aware of the Big Issue and decided to start selling it to fund accommodation costs and to make a legitimate income.

Peter’s Story

Only look down on those you help up

I need to find somewhere to sleep, safe for the night. No money, no bedding, only the pavement. These were the thoughts going through my mind, as I watched the darkness loom, in the knowledge that tonight would be no different than the previous nights. Only cold, damp, depressing, dangerous.

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