I spent five or so weeks working part-time at the Big Issue Foundation and I loved every minute of it. Having worked in a few stuffy places before, the vitality of the Big Issue Foundation team soon rebuild my faith in the working world. What is more, the value of what they do is above and beyond anything you would see in a more commercial setting. The patience and commitment of those who work with some of the most shunned and excluded members of society was honestly inspiring (and I’d dare to call myself a bit of a cynic) and, for me, coming my university student microcosm, it was a profound yet healthy reality check. “To know that I was doing my bit was satisfying; to be able to see the impact myself was a real pleasure.”
I got in touch with the Big Issue Foundation, as my university runs a programme where they support students in finding work at not-for-profit organisations. Having contacted a few different places, TBIF were by far and away the most positive and enthusiastic about my involvement, a factor that swayed me in my decision to volunteer with them and that was representative of the whole experience. They set me up with a project I could get my teeth into and gave me both support and freedom in welcome ample measure.
Despite having one of the UK’s most recognisable brands, the Big Issue Foundation is a deceptively small organisation. As a result, I had the chance to interact with people up and down the organisation, from vendors on the street to the CEO himself, with every shade of street team, editorial and outreach worker in between. This gave me brilliant insight into the inner workings of the non-profit company and social enterprise that arguably I wouldn’t have got at an organisation of similar repute.
“Since leaving, it’s been a great conversation starter. Everyone knows of the Big Issue and if they don’t they need educating!” I loved my time at the Big Issue Foundation and will always look back on it with great fondness. I’m missing the place!