Big Issue calls for public help ahead of ‘unprecedented poverty crisis’

The Big Issue is appealing for support from the public amid expectations of an increase in the number of vendors selling the magazine this winter.

Founder Lord John Bird, and Big Issue ambassador, actor Daniel Mays, warned of an escalating “unprecedented poverty crisis” across the UK in the coming months.

Ad-hoc support from the Government, first during the pandemic and now to help with the cost of living, has not halted the rising level of destitution, said Lord Bird.

The magazine said it was working harder than ever to provide those most affected with the tools for survival.

There are a number of ways the public can support vendors and the Big Issue: buying a magazine from a local vendor; purchasing a subscription; or making a financial contribution to the organisation.

Daniel Mays said: “This Christmas vendors and the Big Issue need support more than ever.”

Lord Bird (pictured) said: “Sadly, we are witnessing the strain of making ends meet amongst our vendors, coupled with an influx of people at the sharp end of poverty, coming to us to sell the magazine as a vital source of income and to cover their basic winter needs.

“Big Issue is working harder than ever to provide those most affected with the tools for survival.

“Our frontline team are out every day supporting vendors to earn an income from magazine sales and getting them access to vital services such as food, fuel, mental health and housing.

“This Christmas we are asking people to come together and bring warmth, support, and hope to as many vendors as possible.”

Jon Gregg, who sells the magazine in London, said: “The hardest thing about selling in the winter is partly the cold.

“It’s harder to stay on your pitch without having to keep moving, to go and get a hot drink if you can get one or something hot to eat.

“There are so many different ways the Big Issue can change your life. It’s helped my confidence a lot, my self-esteem, things like that.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2023, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Ian West / PA.