Big Issue launches urgent Christmas Appeal as vendor sales drop by 40% UK-wide

The Big Issue (TBI) has launched an urgent Christmas Appeal, calling on the public to support the organisation to be there for its 1,600 magazine vendors  by buying from your local vendor, subscribing or donating online.

TBI has reported a projected shortfall of up to £100k each week for both vendors and the organisation in the six weeks leading up to Christmas. The potential loss is based on this years’ cover price, and the assumption that sales will remain 40% down year on year, as they have been since vendors returned to selling the magazine in early July. The lead-up to Christmas would also typically be the busiest time of year for sales.

During the last lockdown, TBI launched an Appeal and thanks to the generous support of the public,  staff were able to support over 1,600 vendors across the UK with £600,000 being dispersed in the form of food vouchers, meter top-ups and other emergency aid to support vendors. Staff were also able to provide ongoing social and emotional support and connect vendors to access other services and support they might need.

Now, in light of further restrictions and the lockdown in Wales, coupled with a drop in sales since lockdown lifted, the organisation is calling on the public once more for their support.

Lavinia Neda, who sells the magazine on Llandaff High Street, Cardiff, said: “It is a very strange time at the moment and very worrying, I can’t sell ten magazines in a week now, this has never happened to me in all my time at The Big Issue. I used to be able to sell five to ten in a day before the virus. Some people who were my regulars before don’t buy the magazine now, they say hello and are still friendly but they don’t buy the magazine, I suppose because they are worried about the virus. It’s a bad time for everyone, not just Big Issue vendors. I hope it will get better, I’m positive it will, we have to be strong in our hearts and our minds, that’s what I tell my customers.”

Lord John Bird, founder of The Big Issue said: “Christmas is traditionally a big time for our vendors, with high streets bustling and everyone full of festive cheer. But if the current trend continues both our vendors and the organisation face a weekly shortfall of over £100k during this period.

“We are calling on the public to support your local vendor where you can. If you haven’t got a local vendor, please think about subscribing or making a donation to The Big Christmas Appeal, to enable us to be there for our vendors, both now and in the future.”

To donate to The Big Christmas Appeal to support TBI’s vital work with vulnerable and disadvantaged people. with either a one-off or to set- up a regular payment, visit www.bigissue.com/support-the-big-issue/. To find the location of your local vendor or to subscribe in print or digital for 3, 6 or 12 months, visit bigissue.com.

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