Place Category: Communities
The Big Issue exists to offer homeless and vulnerably housed people the opportunity to earn a legitimate income by selling a entertainment and current affairs magazine to the general public. Vendor buy the magazine for £1.25 and sell it for £2.50, meaning each seller is a micro-entrepreneur who is working, not begging. Therefore it is vitally important that buyers take their copy of the magazine when they pay for it.
We believe in offering a hand up, not a hand out, but we also recognise that earning an income is the first step on the journey away from homelessness.
The Big Issue Foundation is a registered charity which exists to link vendors with the vital support which will help them address the issues which have led to their homelessness. The Foundation works exclusively with vendors, offering support, advice and referrals.The Big Issue is also an international entity, with versions of the magazine published around the globe.
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Social Impact Statements
The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.
In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders are asked to respond to a set of social impact questions, which are designed to help them think about the social impact they create, and to articulate this clearly and succinctly.
Updated May 2019
1) What social differences and changes have you aimed to create (or supported)?
To promote, educate, campaign and provide benefits and support in any manner as considered expedient in all areas that seek to prevent and tackle poverty, to create social and financial opportunity and value and to have a material positive impact on society and the environment taken as a whole including, but not limited, for those persons who are or are deemed to be financially and socially excluded, including but not limited to education and employment, homeless or vulnerably housed and to promote and invest in all types of charities, social enterprises and other ventures seeking to do the same thing.
2) What actions have you taken to address the above social aims?
- Developing a refresh of the magazine to ensure it continues to engage and attract new audiences . Engaging with new younger audiences in order to extend the reach of the magazine and its ability to engage and influence.
- Launching a new early stage investment programme in the Midlands.
- Bringing together central services of finance and marketing.
- Researching and developing our digital offering.
- Developing broader partnerships through the custom publishing and magazine content to extend our reach and impact to the most vulnerable in society.
- Further developing the rental exchange to tackle the poverty premium and give fairer access to affordable credit services to social and private renters.
- Support the transition of the Credit Worthiness Bill into the House of Commons to deliver support for the above.
- A new office facility in Glasgow was completed in August 2017 allowing the consolidation of the editorial team and a new production team to deliver and develop the magazine with all in house resources. The 200 millionth copy of the magazine was sold.
- The extension of TBI digital foot print and relaunching of the Web site was achieved.
- The first custom publishing initiative was launched with Saints FC and the Saints Foundation, creating a special edition magazine as well as an employability programme. Three vendors completed the course and now have jobs at Saints FC.
- The Publishing team secured the final interview with Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn before the General Election. It was in partnership with UniLad and had over 750,000 views.
3) What has changed and what benefits have been realised as a result of your actions?
We have created social and financial opportunity and value and for our Vendors and Investees. Our aim to keep providing employment opportunities as well as funding those who are unable to access affordable finance in the future.
4) How do you and other people know your aims are being achieved? Or how will you know?
We have hired a Social Impact Manager for Big Issue Invest, and we will follow that with a group-wide Social Impact Manager, who will both report externally on the change we have throughout the UK. Our aim in the future is to release surveys to all external beneficiaries asking a series of qualifying questions on our impact to them as a company or individual.
The below questions are not mandatory, but Mark holders are encouraged to answer them where possible, to provide a fuller account of their social outcomes and the social value they create.
5) How many people have benefitted from your actions?
We have 1200 Vendors who sell The Big Issue.