It almost feels like lockdown is the new normal. Support is beginning to slow but vendors need more than ever. We continue to support as best we can.
By working together, The Big Issue and The Big Issue Foundation have now distributed £159,307 in the form of food/supermarket vouchers and hardship payments to provide emergency relief to vendors.
We are working to prevent homelessness amongst Big Issue vendors.
A referral to Shelter from our team in Birmingham prevented a vendor and her family from being evicted. Once the landlord was made aware of the latest regulations and legal rights of tenants at this time, the eviction notice was revoked.
A vendor had been subletting with no contract or legally binding document permitting them to stay in their property. We spoke to the landlord who let them stay rent free for one month and have used the Vendor Support Fund to supplement this months rent payment.
We continue to help vendors who are struggling with their free time in regards to mental health, addiction and loneliness.
We have used Vendor Support Fund for wordsearch puzzle books, sci-fi books, arts and craft supplies, as well as phone credit so that vendors can keep in touch with family, friends and other vital organisations. One vendor who we bought a colouring book and pencils for, sent in some coloured in pictures for us to see.
Some vendors have even been able to move into mainstream employment in this time.
Stephen is a Big Issue vendor from Bournemouth. He had been rough sleeping before the lockdown, and is currently living in a hotel room. He used this time to try and find other work and we’re delighted to report he’s got a job working as a safety steward for a COVID-19 testing site. The testing site is several miles away and so we used the Vendor Support Fund to get him a bike, helmet and lock.
We are also preparing for how we can support Big Issue vendors post-lockdown. We want to help as many Big Issue vendors as possible take card payments which includes getting photo ID, a bank account, a smart phone and a card reader.
Please support us if you are able: https://www.bigissue.org.uk/donate/