Big Issue

Type: Charity

Founded: 1991

Employees: 150

The Big Issue is a magazine sold by homeless and long-term unemployed people. Vendors buy copies for £1.25 and sell for £2.50. They are working, not begging.

Since The Big Issue was launched in 1991 we have helped thousands of vulnerable people take control of their lives. We currently work with around 2000 individuals across the UK offering them the opportunity to earn a legitimate income; to ‘help them to help themselves’.

Over the past two decades the magazine has become synonymous with challenging, independent journalism, and renowned for securing exclusive interviews with the most elusive of superstars. It currently circulates around 100,000 copies every week.

Vendors undergo an induction process and sign up to a code of conduct. They are allocated a pitch and issued with a number of free copies of the magazine. Last year alone we put more than £5million in the pockets of our vendors, releasing them from a dependence on hand-outs and providing an alternative to begging.

And we don’t stop there. Earning an income is the first step on the journey away from poverty and The Big Issue Foundation, a registered charity, exists to link vendors with vital support and services. The Foundation Helps Vendors move forward, regain their independence and turn a livelihood into a life.

Created as a business solution to a social problem, The Big Issue has inspired other street papers in more than 120 countries, leading a global self-help revolution.


Our Mission

The Big Issue's primary mission is: to support people in the crisis of homelessness regain control of their lives and to help people who are at risk of homelessness remain in accommodation. Our ethos is self-help and self-reliance: we support our vendors to become self-supporting. Every time a member of the public buys a copy of The Big Issue magazine, the vendor selling it takes another step towards independence.


The World of Big Issue Volunteers

Volunteering with The Big Issue offers you a rewarding way to develop new skills, meet new people and be part of an enthusiastic team. To see what our volunteers think click here.

There are many ways you can get involved and make a difference from helping out in local offices, working with vendors on the street to raising the profile of our work in the local community. To learn more about different types of volunteer roles we have click here.

So why not get involved, make good use of your skills & learn new ones, while at the same time helping one of the most vulnerable groups of people in the UK?

Like everything in life the more you put in the more you get back so why not get involved, make good use of your skills & learn new ones, while at the same time help us to offer an even bigger hand up to some of most vulnerable groups of people in the UK?

 You could:

  • help organise or participate in a fundraising event
  • help out at your local distribution office
  • raise funds and awareness in your area
  • join our internship scheme

Click here to find a role near you

Alternatively, if you have a special skill or would like to support our work in a specific role, call us on 0207 526 3400 or email volunteering@bigissue.com.

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