Back on the streets

As non-essential businesses reopened across England, our vendors were able to return to work after a month off the streets

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On Thursday 5 November, we were forced to close our offices once again at what is usually our vendors’ most lucrative time of year, as England went into a second national lockdown. Once again, the support we received from members of the public was incredible, with readers donating thousands of pounds to our hardship fund, as well as continuing to support the magazine by buying it online or picking up a copy from Sainsbury’s, McColl’s, Co-Op or Booths. This wonderful generosity has allowed us to cover everything from rent and bills to grocery shopping for vendors unable to access a foodbank, and essential transportation. We couldn’t have done any of this without your support, and we cannot overstate how grateful we are for everything you have done for our vendors.

However, earning an income is not the only reason people sell Big Issue North. Our vendors tell us that their work also helps them to improve their confidence and motivation, and that they really value having a meaningful use for their time and getting to interact with customers. Our vendors are proud to work, not beg, and say that selling the magazine has a hugely positive impact on their mental health. They were therefore very keen to get back to work as soon as possible.

Once again, safety is our number one priority and, as they return to the streets to greet Christmas shoppers, vendors will be equipped with facemasks (generously donated by members of the public), visors, gloves and hand sanitiser.

We have also set up as many of our vendors as possible with SumUp contactless payment devices, which, as well as purchasing the machines, has also involved buying photo ID for vendors who did not have any, and supporting them to open bank accounts. Again, this would not have been possible without your financial support.

We would like to urge all supporters to buy a magazine from their local vendor if they can (to find out where your nearest one sells, go to As well as selling copies of Big Issue North, many vendors will be selling our 2021 calendar, in which the Creameries’ acclaimed chef and Eat Well MCR founder Mary-Ellen McTague transforms 12 of our vendors’ favourite meals into recipes for you to try at home.

Beautifully photographed by Rebecca Lupton, these calendar-cum-recipe books make a stunning Christmas gift for any food lover in your life, and at only £5, they’re a real bargain. Read more about that and get a taste for some recipes on page 12.

While some vendors are now back on the street this is not yet possible for everyone. We are only allowing vendors to return to pitches where they can maintain social distancing, and for those who are shielding or who live with someone who is, a return to work could yet be a long way off. The magazine will therefore continue to be available from supermarkets and online at You can also subscribe for £3 a week at

You can also support our vendors by buying merchandise, including our 2021 calendar, Christmas cards, and a range of beautiful jewellery and homeware made from recycled copies of Big Issue North, or taking out a subscription to our new quarterly magazine, The New Issue, at All proceeds go towards supporting vendors who cannot work, and providing everything those who can need to get back on the street safely.

We will also continue to rely on your generosity to support those vendors who are not yet able to get back on the streets. To make a direct donation to our hardship fund, please text HARDSHIP to 70970 to give £5, or go to to give as much or as little as you can afford.

This has been the greatest challenge we have ever faced and, thanks to you, we have been able to face it head on. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much.

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