It’s Manchester v Liverpool to raise awareness of Big Issue North

To mark international Vendor Week, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham will compete with Merseyside Mayor Steve Rotheram, selling copies of Big Issue North for an hour on the street next week .

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The two politicians form one of a number of head-to-head challenges that make up Big Issue North’s Big Sell, an annual event aiming to raise awareness of the challenges that regular sellers of the magazine face.

While Andy Burnham will be selling the magazine to commuters at Manchester Oxford Road station on Monday evening, Steve Rotheram will be selling to members of the public on Liverpool’s Basnett Street.

The pair join forces with big names from the world of music, sport and politics during the event. In Sheffield, Thursday sees Lord Mayor Magid Magid face-off against one of the city’s most famous musical sons, Jon McLure, lead singer of Reverend and the Makers.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire Cricket Club wicketkeeper Jonny Tattersall will swap cricket whites for a hi-vis jacket, when he takes part in Leeds on Wednesday.

Other people taking part include Edna Robinson, Chair of The Big Life group and the People’s Powerhouse. Edna will go head-to-head with Mark Fitzgibbon, Big Issue North Trustee on Tuesday.

Each guest seller will sell for one hour alongside a regular Big Issue North vendor, and all money raised from magazine sales will go straight into the regular vendor’s pocket.

This is the fifth annual Big Sell, with previous participants including actor Maxine Peake, music legend Clint Boon, and politicians including Hilary Benn MP, David Blunkett and George Galloway.

This will be the second time that Andy Burnham has experienced an hour of life as a seller. After taking part in 2018, he said: “It brought home how hard it is for people selling Big Issue North. It’s so hard when people just walk past. But overall, more people than I thought came up and bought one – the people of Greater Manchester are generous. It also brings home how valuable Big Issue North can be as a lifeline for people in need.”

Fay Selvan, Chief Executive of Big Issue North, said: “This year’s Big Sell promises to really cast a light on the challenges our vendors face. It’s great to see people from all sorts of fields give their time to support vendors, and experience the reality of selling on the streets in all weathers.

“I’m proud that we’re doing the Big Sell for the fifth year running, joining other street papers around the world in raising awareness of the challenges facing the people who sell such magazines and hopefully boosting their sales. And for those people doing the Big Sell with a competitive edge, may the best salesperson win!”

The Big Sell takes place during international #VendorWeek, an international event organised by INSP (International Network of Street Papers). During the week, people across the world show their support for street papers, often by giving up an hour of their day to sell their local magazine.

Maree Aldam, Chief Executive of INSP, said: “INSP #VendorWeek is an annual celebration of 9,000 vendors currently selling street papers around the world. Each one of these men and women – in 35 countries – is using their local street paper as a way to work themselves out of poverty.

It’s especially important at this time of year, when you might be feeling the post-Christmas and New Year lull, to remember that vendors are still out there working hard in all weather.

This year’s Big Issue North guest vendors will be joined by readers, business leaders, politicians and celebrities as far afield as the USA and Australia; who will all sell their local street papers to understand more about the challenges faced by vendors.”

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