Over the last 20 years, in cities across the UK, thousands of homeless and vulnerably accommodated people have taken the opportunity to earn a legitimate income. The Big Issue magazine is one of Britain's leading social businesses and exists to help the most needy in society on their journey away from homelessness.
The Big Issue, they gave me my life back. I had no life before I came to the Big Issue, and then when I've got a bad start, they gave me a second chance in life.
The magazine is a hand up, not a handout, and helps those going through the trauma of homelessness to take control of their lives by turning them into a microenterprise.
You've got to help yourself before you're ready to get help—that's the way I feel.
"Big Issue, ladies. Big Issue?"
You're giving them something for their money, and not just taking their money from them.
Every week, they sell an entertainment and current affairs magazine which they buy for one pound and sell to the public for two. They learn to manage theirself, control their finances, and rebuild their confidence and self-esteem. These skills are crucial in helping homeless people reintegrate into mainstream society.
Well, I look at—just because I'm homeless doesn't mean I still can't work, and that's what the Big Issue is about. And then that makes me feel good about myself.
The Big Issue vendor is someone who has taken the first step to rebuilding their lives.