Our History

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Big Issue North started in December 1992 as a Manchester supplement within the London-based Big Issue.

From there, Big Issue North grew as an independent publication distributed in the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber. To expand the range of services that we offered to vendors, the Big Issue North Trust was established in 1996.

A large fundraising campaign, plus National Lottery money and a regeneration grant from English Partnerships, meant we were able to move into an office in Manchester in 1998, with offices in Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Hull to follow, along with sub-offices in Preston and Kendal.

Since becoming independent, we have retained close ties with Big Issue, sharing advertising and working together on common projects to support our vendors and improve what we do.

Big Issue North is also one of 112 street paper projects in 34 countries, which are supported by INSP (International Network of Street Papers). INSP supports the development and sustainability of its members, and adds value to their work so that thousands of homeless or vulnerably housed vendors – more than 250,000 so far – can earn a living and improve their lives. INSP does this by providing a range of services and projects, including the annual Global Street Paper Summit and the INSP News Service.

Big Issue North and Big Issue North Trust are part of The Big Life group. Working across the north, Big Life is in the business of changing lives, creating opportunities for people who have the least.

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On the cover: Dick and Dom

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