The government says non-essential retailers will be able to open again next month and Big Issue vendors are keen to get back to selling the magazine.
We are 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.
However, vendors are currently unable to sell and earn and so we continue to support them in any way we are able.
We are supporting vendors with financial support during this time.
A vendor who has been selling The Big Issue for over five years is struggling to keep up with his bills. The magazine was his sole income and he is not entitled to any benefits. We have used the Vendor Support Fund to ensure they have gas and electricity during the lockdown.
A vendor found themselves in dire straits due to being burgled in the night. He had his wallet and money tin stolen by someone in his flat. We used the Vendor Support Fund to make an emergency payment to ensure he would be able to buy food and basic essentials.
A vendor is currently paying £10 per week towards his carpet, the cost of which is normally covered by his magazine sales. Without this opportunity to earn money, he is becoming increasingly stressed about getting behind on his payments and any potential consequences of this further down the line. We have used the Vendor Support Fund to help this vendor with the payments so they don’t get into arrears.
We continue to support vendors on their recovery from addiction.
A Big Issue vendor was relocated to Salisbury by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole council as that’s where his local connection is. He was told if he moves back, he will be offered housing support and eventually moved into permanent accommodation. This vendor is withdrawing from drug use and collects his methadone prescription every two days from a tow, which is over 6 miles from where he has been placed in temporary housing. He has requested for his prescription to be moved to a closer pharmacy, but this cannot be done for at least a couple of weeks. We have used the Vendor Support Fund to buy this vendor a bus pass so they will be able to go and collect their prescription in the meantime.
And we do what we can to support vendors who are struggling with life
beyond the lockdown.
A vendor has begun to turn his life around. He has sold The Big Issue for over 5 years and uses the magazine as his sole source of income. He was street homeless when he started selling the magazine and is now living in Tottenham with his partner and young daughter. The magazine has allowed him to support his family and allowed for flexible working hours to care for his child.
His partner was working until she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The vendor now finds himself caring for both his partner and his daughter and is struggling financially. His residency has not been verified yet and so he is unable to access benefits.
As he is unable to sell the magazine due to the lockdown, he is at risk of losing his housing. He is currently dealing with the diagnosis of his partner and to alleviate that stress we will pay his rent this month. This is reducing the risk of homelessness and giving security for him and his family.
We will continue to support the vendor to obtain his residency status and submit a benefit claim.
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.
Please support Big Issue vendors if you are able: https://www.bigissue.org.uk/donate/