We are always in awe of the resilience of Big Issue vendors. These are individuals who have taken their own first steps to work their way out of poverty, homelessness and social exclusion. It comes as no surprise that vendors across the country have been adapting to these difficult times. And a few are going above and beyond. Here are two such vendors who are using this time to give back.
Ian Duff is a Big Issue vendor based in Bath. He has formerly worked as a chef has offered to cook a week’s worth of meals for members of the public.
Ian previously worked as a chef for decades. He also ran a social enterprise dining service which also offered cooking classes where long term unemployed and homeless could learn the skills needed to cook good healthy food.
Ian, who usually sells the magazine on Union Street in Bath, told the Big Issue:
“The basic idea would be to make stews, chillies and bolognese, basically stuff that can be packed up and cooked in batches rather than cooked individually. I can come up with meals for a week for each family and they can pick them up and put them in the freezer or fridge.”
You can read more about Ian’s Story here.
Bournemouth based vendor, Julie Cherry, is also using this time to give back. As well as selling the magazine, Julie is also a matchday steward for Southampton FC and Bournemouth FC Premier League home matches.
Now she is transferring those people skills over to volunteering during the lockdown. Julie is one of over 750,000 people who have signed up as an NHS volunteer responder. Julie is calling vulnerable people in her area who are at risk of loneliness as a consequence of self-isolation.
“I’m just calling people near me on the very vulnerable list, there are about 2.5 million people on that list. I’ve worked in a hospital before so I know how to speak to people. I’m live on the website, like 750,000 other volunteers, and waiting for alerts to come through.”
Julie is also heading to the shops for neighbours who can’t get out themselves.
“I’m helping my neighbours out by going shopping for them because one is over 70 and the other has a broken neck. There are a lot of people getting the virus and dying from it so anything I can do to help I should do.”
You can read more about Julie’s story here.