How to help our vendors

For vendors like Nadia, who can’t sell through lockdown, contributions to our hardship fund can be life-changing

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As of last Wednesday, many people across the country returned to work for the first time since lockdown began. But while our vendors are very keen to get back to work too, it remains unsafe for them to do so.

For vendors to return to work safely when the time is right, they will need PPE and all the provisions required to offer cashless payments, including a smart phone, payment machine and bank account. Vendors who have not used smart technology before will need training.

We will also need to ensure our offices are safe for staff and vendors to return to. This will mean installing perspex screens so they can buy magazines safely, as well as hand sanitiser for vendors and staff.

In the meantime, we are continuing to support vendors with payments from our Covid-19 hardship fund while they cannot work. For vendors with health conditions that make them vulnerable to serious illness or even death if they contract the virus, we may also need to continue to provide support until a vaccination is available.

Our vendors lead complex lives that can make surviving the pandemic particularly difficult. Nadia, who usually sells the magazine in Todmorden, is one such vendor.

“My husband has very severe diabetes and sometimes he is all right and sometimes he is not,” she told us. “He has to take insulin four times every day and check his levels all the time. He cannot really work. He sells Big Issue North one day a week, but most of the time he stays at home. I didn’t go to school. I cannot write – only my name. I don’t understand the computer.”

Payments can account for her husband’s loss of income for the foreseeable future, helping them to take care of their children. We will be able to enrol her on literacy and IT classes so she can take cashless payments, which will also allow her to seek new educational and work opportunities after lockdown is lifted.

Our frontline staff have been working tirelessly to support vendors like Nadia, but to continue to do so, they need your help. We are currently paying out around £12,500 per month, and the need for the fund is showing no signs of diminishing.

If you would like to help, you can make a donation by texting HARDSHIP to 70970 to give £5, or going to to give as much or as little as you can afford.

You can also buy Big Issue North from several avenues. You can buy back issues or take out a three, six or 12-month subscription from our online shop,, or buy digital issues from Big Issue North is also now on sale in Sainsbury’s, McColl’s, Co-Op, Asda, One Stop, Morrisons, Waitrose and Booths stores across the north.

If you have two minutes spare, you can also nominate the Big Issue North Trust, registered charity number 1056041, to win £5,000 for our vendors at

If you can help out with providing PPE or smart phones to our vendors, please email us at

Thank you so much for your support.

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Big Issue North during the Coronavirus pandemic

We have taken the difficult decision to tell our vendors that they cannot sell Big Issue North on the streets during the Coronavirus pandemic, for the safety of the public and themselves.

This is a serious emergency for our vendors, and they need your help. There are three things you can do right now to help them get through this impossibly tough period.

  1. Buy our digital issue of this week’s magazine Buy
  2. Donate to our hardship fund, which we’ll use to help vendors in the most urgent need Donate
  3. Buy subscriptions and back issues online Shop Now