On Monday 12th April, hundreds of Big Issue North vendors will go back to work for the first time in 2021. After spending more than half of the past year unable to sell the magazine, they will once again be able to earn an independent income.

Vendors will be returning to pitches where social distancing can be maintained, equipped with face masks, visors, gloves, hand sanitiser and, where possible, contactless payment devices. You can find your local pitch at www.bigissuenorth.com/find-a-vendor. Buying from your local vendor not only helps them to earn an income – vendors are self-employed, buying magazines from Big Issue North offices for £1.50 each before selling them on for £3 – but also has significant benefits to their mental wellbeing.

Selling Big Issue North helps Simon, based in Harrogate, to get his life back on track following a period of homelessness and a diagnosis of MS. “It gets me out and about,” he said.

“Selling the magazine keeps my mind off the MS, gives me something to do and helps me earn a little bit of money at the same time.” He also really values the interactions he has with his customers: “I have a good chat with most of the people in Harrogate. I missed them a lot in lockdown.” He is not alone – a recent survey found that more than half of Big Issue North vendors consider improving their motivation and self-esteem to be key reasons for selling the magazine.

However, as some customers and vendors will continue to shield until they or their loved ones have received a vaccination, the magazine will also continue to go on sale each week in Sainsbury’s, Co-Op, McColl’s and Booths branches across the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, as well as online, both as a digital publication at issuu.com/bigissuenorth and a physical one at shop.bigissuenorth.com. Half of the price of each magazine goes directly to the COVID-19 vendor hardship fund, with the remainder covering production costs.

Subscriptions are also available, either as three, six or twelve month packages from shop.bigissuenorth.com/category/subscriptions or as a weekly direct debit at pay.gocardless.com/AL0003E9T4AAG1. The Big Issue North shop also features a wide range of products, from quarterly sister magazine The New Issue, to music merchandise, to beautiful items of handmade jewellery crafted from unsold magazines, and all proceeds support vendors.


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