Big Issue North needs you! People who sell the magazine on the streets are returning to work and need kitting out in full PPE. If you can sew, the organisation would be hugely grateful for donations of reusable facemasks. 

On Monday 23rd March, for the safety of vendors and customers, Big Issue North was pulled from the street for the first time since its foundation. It launched a hardship fund to cover vendors’ cost of living while they were unable to work, but for many, coping financially was far from the only concern on their mind.

Big Issue North vendors are homeless or vulnerably house but are self-employed, buying magazines for £1.50 each before selling them on for £3. Three quarters of those that sell it have never begged, and the vast majority of those who have report that their begging has decreased – and usually ceased entirely – since they began selling the magazine. Their motto, “working not begging”, is a source of pride for vendors, and to have to rely on financial aid had a negative impact on their self-esteem.

The lifting of lockdown restrictions meant that from Monday 15th June, vendors who were not shielding and do not live with anyone who is, began to go back to work on pitches that will allow them and their customers to maintain social distancing. To keep them and their customers safe, Big Issue North support staff are providing each returning vendor with a pack, including PPE and a contactless payment device.

Like many charitable organisations Big Issue North Trust – the charity arm of the organisation that supports vendors – has seen a loss of income during lockdown, due to both the cancellation of fundraising events and a loss of around £15,000 per week resulting from vendors no longer buying the magazine. While many people have generously donated to the hardship fund, bought digital issues and supported the them through on their online shop, donations are now beginning to decrease, and as shielding vendors continue to rely on hardship payments for the foreseeable future and others continue to return, Big Issue North needs your help.

Donations of PPE will help us to ensure that vendors can get back to work safely, and will make an enormous difference to them and the organisation. Masks can be sent to Big Issue North, Raven House, 113 Fairfield Street, Manchester, M12 6EL. Alternatively, if you’re not so crafty, you can buy PPE for our vendors through The Hope Revolution’s PPE shop. Just choose the items you’d like to donate and choose ‘Manchester’ from the dropdown list under ‘City’.

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