Although the government have begun to talk about phasing out of lockdown, it will still be some time before Big Issue vendors are back selling on the streets.
We are providing essential well-being support for vendors.
Several vendors continue to call for general chats, something that is becoming more essential as the weeks progress. We may be the only people they speak to sometimes. Many vendors are struggling with the big change to their lifestyles. We continue to encourage them to keep in contact, not just for needs but for socialising too.
One vendor who is struggling with alcoholism and is worried that the disruption to his routine will put his progress in jeopardy. We spoke at length and decided that getting him access to learning opportunities on the internet it would be a very positive step forward. We are using the Vendor Support Fund to get him a laptop to. He will also be using the £25 bank transfer to buy some new trainers so he can begin exercising again.
We are helping to keep vendors connected.
A vendor let us know their phone isn’t working well which is making it difficult to keep in contact with him whilst in isolation. It’s also affecting his mental well-being as he can’t access the internet so is feeling further isolated. We have got him a new smart phone using funds from the Vendor Support Fund. Not only will this improve his wellbeing now but will enable him to set up for contactless payment in future!
Vendors continue to struggle with issues that brought them to the Big Issue in the first place.
A vendor in Birmingham was very concerned about their debts during lockdown as they have now have no income. We got contact with Money Sorted, an organisation that helps people manage their money and supports them to improve their financial well-being. All of their creditors have now been contacted and asked for a 90 day hold on all the accounts whilst the vendor applies for a debt relief order.
During lockdown, we continue to support vendors with their settled status applications as the deadline has not changed. We continue to make referrals to Migrant Help for support as this is one less thing for vendors to worry about during this difficult time.
We have also been helping vendors get new clothes.
A vendor who had been rough sleeping is currently housed in a youth hostel. He only had one bag of clothes and no access to facilities to do washing. We have used the Vendor Support Fund to get him some new clothes.
And we are helping vendors see there is hope for the future!
We have linked up with a local recruitment consultant who has been furloughed from his organisation; he is keen to gain some volunteer experience during this time. He has agreed to offer some free support to vendors who would like to put together CVs, practice interview skills or apply for work. He is currently working with a vendor who recently received a laptop via the Vendor Support Fund. The vendor has reflected that this has made him feel ‘really good about myself, like there’s still hope’ for the future.
Every vendor’s needs will be unique as every person’s situation is unique and thanks to your support, we will support each individuals needs as best we can.