We are now moving into week 5 of the lockdown. Thanks to your generous donations, support is still being delivered to Big Issue vendors and their families.
We are supporting vendors and their families.
Three vendors told us they were running low on baby essentials such as nappies and baby formula. We referred to local food banks but they didn’t have any baby supplies. We were able to purchase, nappies, wipes and baby formula and have it delivered to their homes!
We have been working with Dogs Trust to have dog food delivered to vendors with dogs! We have also used our own funds to get cat food to be delivered to another one of our vendors with a feline friend!
We are supporting vendors to apply for benefits where appropriate.
With our support, a vendor has successfully signed up to universal credit and received his first payment. This was only possible because of our previous work with this vendor. We previously supported him with obtaining photo ID via the Vendor Support Fund. We also supported them through the process of opening a bank account. These can feel like minor achievements but situations like we find ourselves in now show how valuable these everyday things we take for granted really are.
With no outside focus, vendors are struggling with their inner demons.
We are there to support them in any way we can.
This down time has been extremely difficult for vendors with addiction issues or going through withdrawal. One vendor was struggling to keep busy from her addiction of inhaling gas. We used donated funds to buy her some adult colouring books and colouring pencils and got them posted directly to her.
We have been in regular touch with another vendor with poor mental health. He has explained that he is really struggling, he is lonely as his lives in his accommodation by himself, he cannot cook due to memory problems and he also cannot read and write. He called us for a chat as he was feeling really low. We gave him the phone numbers for mental health phone lines and I emailed a local organisation to see if they provide phone befriending at this time, as after speaking to him, he said he feels this would be beneficial. We have found a local organisation who can help and have made a referral for this vendor.
Just like everyone else, Big Issue vendors are also concerned for their loved ones.
We spoke to a vendor who was concerned about the well-being of his elderly parents who live in another city. He had no phone so he had written to them but had not heard back. We were able to get a pay-as-you-go phone with £10 credit so he could keep in contact with them.
We are supporting vendors in multiple ways to support their needs.
We spoke to a vendor in London this week who had many concerns. We contacted their energy providers to enable emergency credit to be added to their accounts. We have signposted them to a local food bank and also provided a supermarket voucher for this week so they can get something to eat immediately. We have added credit to their phone so they can stay in contact with us and other vital services at this time. We have also ordered a colouring book at their request to give them an activity to focus on to improve their mental health.
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.