On 7th April 2016 The Big Issue celebrated 200 million sales in Britain.
In almost 25 years since its founding, the iconic magazine has changed the publishing landscape and the lives of thousands and thousands of people, working on the simple ‘A hand up, not a hand out’ mantra.
The Big Issue is not a charity, it is not a governmental agency, yet in that time it has allowed the poorest in Britain to earn more than £100 million. Without The Big Issue that huge figure would have had to come from begging, crime or the Exchequer. It is calculated that this money has resulted in an additional return for society of almost £500 million. This is through a simple business solution to a societal problem.
“We’re so proud to be able to mark this occasion,” said editor Paul McNamee. “When John Bird established The Big Issue in 1991 he wanted to offer the poorest in society a means to earn their own living, to work their way back up from the bottom, to see a future. John always thinks big but I don’t think even he would have seen 200 million sales. We’re delighted to be here, to be a print title that is putting on sales as others decline and to remain a vital force for the men and women who want to earn but have seen normal life close down.”
Big Issue MD, Russell Blackman added ”200 million copies sold is an incredible land mark and testament to all the vendors that have stood out there, in any weather, running their own micro-enterprises with a sense of dignity. The social impact that has been created by these sales is profound.’’
To mark this fantastic date, The Big Issue has teamed up with prolific street artist Ben Eine who is most notable for his alphabet lettering on shop shutters and walls, to design a very special edition front cover of the magazine. Eine, one of Britain’s best urban artists, has created an exclusive cover using his unique lettering style. In collaboration with Eine and Jealous Gallery in Shoreditch, The Big Issue celebrated the landmark 200 millionth copy of the magazine sold with a special one-off exhibition of three new Ben Eine editions produced and hosted by Jealous Gallery.
At the public opening on Friday 8th April, Eine’s new prints were officially launched to fans and collectors alongside a selection of his previous print editions, produced in the Jealous Print Studio. A percentage of sales are going to The Big Issue to help with their on-going mission to help vendors help themselves.
“I am honoured to be able to be in a position where I can give something back and The Big Issue is an organisation that I feel passionate about. Any of us can become homeless pretty easily” said Ben Eine
For more information about the event, please visit The Big Issue website.