Restrictions across the UK continue to lift. Vendors who have been placed into temporary housing during lockdown are concerned what will happen to them once restrictions are lifted. We continue to work with local councils, commission street services and housing providers to support vendors moving into permanent accommodation.
Alongside financial support, we are continuing to regularly contact vendors for welfare checks. Several vendors have no immediate financial needs but massively benefit from the social interaction from having regular catch-up calls.
We have been keeping in regular contact with a vendor who has just begun accessing a mental health service. She has been able to do this after we used the Vendor Support Fund to get a dongle so she can access the internet. She has made the difficult decision to pause her transition and this has brought up a lot of emotion surrounding her gender identity. Although she is struggling, she seems very hopeful and is optimistic about her future. Accessing mental health support has given her more control and her general mood has improved.
We have also helped another vendor obtain a laptop via the Vendor support Fund. He has given his future more thought and would like to explore a career in IT. Getting the laptop is just the first step, and we will be looking into qualifications available. He is very thankful for all the support and is still keen to return to selling.
A vendor got in touch with us as they have begun to really struggle with the boredom of isolation. He creates art we are currently looking to link him in with a creative agency to further his creative endeavours and explore possible mentorships. We have also helped them apply for a grant from Creative Debuts. They have created a £500 grant for black creatives and are keen to see how they can support him further. Will be using the Vendor Support Fund to help him purchase a printer so he can start selling prints.
During a welfare call, a vendor told us he was feeling very isolated and missed the daily interaction with his customers. He also mentioned he hadn’t been able to speak to his son for a while as he didn’t have any credit. We used the Vendor Support Fund to top-up his mobile phone so he was able to keep in-contact with his son.
Every vendor’s needs will be unique as every person’s situation is unique. 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/