Vendors return after lockdown

Your support will help them back to work

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As this issue goes to print, we are preparing to welcome hundreds of vendors back to work for the first time in 2021. After spending over half of the past year unable to sell the magazine, we are thrilled that they will once again be able to earn an independent income.

Vendors will be returning to pitches where social distancing can be maintained, equipped with face masks, visors, gloves, hand sanitiser and, where possible, contactless payment devices – something that would not have been possible without your generous support. Since England’s first national lockdown was announced last year, you have donated an incredible £145,000 to our hardship fund, allowing us to provide vendors with financial aid while they were unable to work and everything they needed to get back to work safely, and bought over 880 items from our online shop. Dozens of volunteers have also given hours of their time to create safe and comfortable face masks and visors for our vendors, hosted or participated in fundraising events, and much more. We are truly grateful.

If you will be out and about, you can find your local pitches at Buying from your local vendor not only helps them to earn an income – our vendors are self-employed, buying magazines from our offices for £1.50 each before selling them on for £3 – but also has significant benefits to their mental wellbeing.

Selling Big Issue North helps Simon, based in Harrogate, to get his life back on track following a period of homelessness and a diagnosis of MS. “It gets me out and about,” he said. “Selling the magazine keeps my mind off the MS, gives me something to do and helps me earn a little bit of money at the same time.”

He also really values the interactions he has with his customers. “I have a good chat with most of the people in Harrogate. I missed them a lot in lockdown. I live in a flat and I don’t like spending time on my own there.”

He is not alone. A recent survey found that over half of our vendors consider improving their motivation and self-esteem to be key reasons for selling Big Issue North, and you contribute to this every time you stop for a chat or buy a magazine.

But as many customers and vendors may need to continue shielding, the magazine remains on sale each week in Sainsbury’s, Co-Op, McColl’s and Booths branches across the North West and Yorkshire and Humber, as well as online, both as a digital publication at and a physical one at Half of the price of each magazine goes directly to our hardship fund, with the remainder covering production costs.

If you suspect that you will not be out shopping for some time, or do not have a local vendor, you can also take out a subscription, either by purchasing a three, six or 12 month package at, or by taking out a weekly direct debit at Our shop also features a range of products, from our quarterly magazine The New Issue to music merchandise and beautiful jewellery crafted from unsold magazines. All proceeds support our vendors.

To make a donation to our hardship fund, please text HARDSHIP to 70970 to give £5, or visit

Your support at this most difficult of times is immensely appreciated. Thank you.

Main image: Simon can’t wait to start selling the magazine in Harrogate again. Working keeps his mind occupied and gives him something to do (Lee Brown)

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