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The Big Issue in lockdown

Big Issue North pulled from the street again during third national lockdown
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
The Big Issue in lockdown

Main image: Leeds Big Issue vendor Howard before lockdown

With England now in a third lockdown, Big Issue North vendors face a dire predicament: they are once again not permitted to sell the magazine.

The 350 people who sell are self-employed, buying magazines from offices across the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber for £1.50 before selling them on the streets for £3.

This means that they are not eligible for furlough. As they cannot work from home, hundreds of homeless and vulnerably housed people now find themselves without a source of desperately needed income.

£10k support required

During the first lockdown, frontline staff 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 the pay out is expected to be even higher, following an influx of new vendors when the first lockdown was lifted. On top of that, the bitter cold will lead to an increased need for help with accommodation and bills.

Big Issue North estimates it will need £10,000 to support all its vendors through this period of lockdown.

How you can help

If you are able to help, there are various ways members of the public can support Big Issue North.

You can donate to the hardship fund, which provides everything vendors need to survive the weeks ahead, by texting HARDSHIP to 70970 (gives £5), or clicking here.

You can continue to buy Big Issue North either in Sainsbury’s (including online), Co-Op, McColl’s or Booths, or online here. Half the cost of each magazine will go directly to the hardship fund, with the rest covering production costs.

You can subscribe to Big Issue North, either by purchasing a three-, six- or 12-month subscription package, here – or by taking out a weekly direct debit here.

You can shop at the official Big Issue North online shop here. The top product is a new quarterly subscription magazine, The New Issue, which contains real stories – beautifully told.

It offers stunning photography combined with high-quality independent writing, covering everything from changing landscapes and social issues to lifestyle and fiction.

Other items include back issues, music merchandise, handmade jewellery and homeware and the Big Issue North 2021 calendar, featuring recipes for 12 vendors’ favourite dishes, transformed by The Creameries chef and Eat Well MCR founder Mary-Ellen McTague.

Finally you could buy a mask from MancMadeltd on Etsy; £1 from every sale goes to the Big Issue North hardship fund.

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