How to ward off the January blues

January brings a drop-off in magazine sales for our vendors but there are other ways you can help them

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Christmas is a time of year when many people, thankful for the things they have, increase their generosity and give more. With the harsh effects of the pandemic still lingering and Omicron plunging us into further crisis as we approach the new year, many people forget about people like Big Issue North vendors, who are still on the streets every day, trying to earn a living.

Each year, we see a decrease in sales after Christmas, which has an inevitably harsh impact on vendors. They struggle to make ends meet and earn an extremely low income, leaving them with very little to survive. And right now, mirroring the quieter high streets across the country, vendors’ sales are down more than 40 per cent this December

With worse to come in January and February, many of our vendors are dreading the new year.

Gordon, a vendor at Sainsbury’s in Heaton Park, Manchester, told us how it feels when the new year comes around.

He said: “It always goes quiet after Christmas. Lots of people say hi to me all year round, ask how I am and maybe give me a pound, but they only buy a magazine at Christmas. I wish they bought the magazine all year round instead – that would be great. Everyone is generous at Christmas time but it’s just my regulars who keep me going in January and February.

“A lot of my regulars are older, and they’re scared of coming out again because of Covid. This means sales will be even harder this January. I am dreading another lockdown in January because I need to pay my energy bills with the money I make from the magazine. I wish younger people bought the magazine from me, but they don’t very often. I’m 72 – I think I’m the oldest vendor in Manchester!”

The most important way you can help people like Gordon this January is to keep on buying Big Issue North, taking the magazine and reading it. If you can’t get to a local vendor, did you know you can buy individual digital issues of the magazine from issuu.com/bigissuenorth and print subscriptions at shop.bigissuenorth.com/category/subscriptions?

And if that’s not possible, your donations to Big Issue North Trust can make the world of difference and contribute to changing vendors’ lives for the better. From buying products from our online shop at shop.bigissuenorth.com to making an instant donation via easydonate.org/recover, or even setting up a standing order to Big Issue North by calling our head office on 0161 848 2420, every action makes a difference.

Another way you can support our vendors is through volunteering, or by becoming a Big Issue North vendor champion. You can become part of a larger group of people across the North who come together to harness their strengths, skills and passions to help build a network of support to help vendors thrive. Whether you can spare 10 minutes or 10 hours, there are countless ways you can get involved and help. If you are interested in becoming a vendor champion, email bigissuenorth@thebiglifegroup.com today.

By giving today, you can ensure all our vendors can access all the support they need this winter. Please give what you can today, and see how one small kind gesture from you can make a big difference to someone else’s future

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