As England enters a second lockdown set to last at least until early December, Big Issue sellers face a dire predicament as they are now not permitted to sell Big Issue North.
350 people who sell Big Issue North are self-employed, buying magazines for £1.50 before selling them on the streets of the north for £3.
This means for these people 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. While those behind the Big Issue will be doing everything to support them through this incredibly difficult time, they are also appealing for help.
In a statement issued s spokesperson for the Big Issue said;
“During the first lockdown, we paid out £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 March to June and know that many will be keen to come to our vendors’ aid once again.”
“There are three things that members of the public 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.”
“Secondly, you can continue to buy the magazine, either in Sainsbury’s, including Sainsbury’s 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.”
“If you don’t want to have to shop each week, you can also subscribe to Big Issue North, either by purchasing a three, six or twelve-month subscription package online.”
“Finally, you can do some of your Christmas shopping in our online shop, shop.bigissuenorth.com.”
“You can also support us by buying a mask from www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MancMadeltd, who are donating £1 from every sale to our hardship fund.”