How you can help your vendor

Once again this year, coronavirus has forced our vendors off the street. But this time the consequences could be even more severe

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As England enters a second lockdown until early December, our vendors face a dire predicament: they are now not permitted to sell Big Issue North.

The 350 people who sell Big Issue North are self-employed, buying magazines from our offices for £1.50 before selling them on the streets for £3. This means that they are not eligible for furlough, and as they cannot work from home, homeless and vulnerably housed people across the north of England now find themselves without a source of desperately needed income.

The lead-up to Christmas is usually vendors’ most lucrative time of year, with calendars to sell, more people out and about doing their Christmas shopping and the Christmas spirit breeding feelings of generosity. This year, however, without any way to work and with winter drawing in, it is set to be their most difficult. We will do everything we can to support them through this incredibly difficult time, but we need your help.

During the first lockdown, we paid out a total of £500 each day to support vendors’ cost of living, from rent and bills for those in their own accommodation to essential shopping and transport. This time, we expect to pay out even more, as we experienced an influx of new vendors when the first lockdown was lifted, and the bitter cold will lead to an increased need for help with bills. We were overwhelmed with the support we received from our readers from March to June and know that many of you will be keen to come to our vendors’ aid once again.

There are three things you can do today that will make an enormous difference.

Firstly, you can make a donation to our hardship fund, providing everything vendors need to survive the weeks ahead, by texting HARDSHIP to 70970 to give £5, going to easydonate.org/HARDSHIP, or scanning the QR code below:

Secondly, you can continue to buy this three-week magazine, either in Sainsbury’s (including the online shop), Co-Op, McColl’s or Booths, or online at issuu.com/bigissuenorth. Half the cost of each magazine will go directly to our hardship fund. You can also subscribe to Big Issue North, either by purchasing a three, six or 12 month subscription package atshop.bigissuenorth.com/category/subscriptions, or by taking out a weekly direct debit at pay.gocardless.com/AL0003E9T4AAG1.

Finally, you can do some of your Christmas shopping on our online store, shop.bigissuenorth.com. We have a wide range of products, from back issues and our new quarterly subscription magazine, The New Issue, to music merchandise, to handmade jewellery and homeware made from recycled copies of Big Issue North.

2021 calendar

You can also buy our 2021 calendar, featuring recipes for 12 of our vendors’ favourite dishes, transformed by Creameries chef and Eat Well MCR founder Mary-Ellen McTague and beautifully shot by Rebecca Lupton, for just £5. Or, for just £10, you can buy our Christmas 2020 bundle, including a calendar, a Big Issue North tote bag featuring quotes from poet Ian McMillan, and five pun-tastic Christmas cards.

If you have a knack for knitting, we are also looking for volunteers to knit warm hats, scarves, gloves and socks for our vendors for when they return to work. Anything you can provide will be gratefully received at Big Issue North, 463 Stretford Road, Manchester, M16 9AB.

You can also support us by buying a mask from www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MancMadeltd, which is donating £1 from every sale to our hardship fund.

Our vendors have never faced a challenge like this one, and your support is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Photo: Lee Brown 

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Big Issue North during the Coronavirus pandemic

Following the announcement of a full national lockdown from Thursday 5th November, our vendors are once again unable to sell Big Issue North and earn an income.

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. Donate to our hardship fund
  2. Buy the magazine online or from Sainsbury’s, Co-Op, McColl’s or Booths
  3. Subscribe to Big Issue North or The New Issue or do some Christmas shopping on our shop

Every donation makes a difference.