The Big Issue Foundation

The Big Issue Foundation is a leading social enterprise in the UK. You’ll likely have seen their vendors selling the Big Issue magazine where you get off the tube for work. The charity employs homeless people as vendors to sell magazines at their own profit or loss as their source of income. It is a charity that truly sticks to their values of giving people the tools to work their way out of poverty and homelessness.

Vendors not only earn income from their efforts, they increase their own skillset (sales ability, budgeting and saving skills).

The charity does also give a helping hand though. Through a Vendor Support Fund, their service team help vendors find their own path towards a brighter future, and help make introductions and connect people with local services to achieve their goals.

Whether the charity organises appointments or travel arrangements, the vendor agrees to pay 20% of the cost from their own money, and 80% comes from charitable donations from the general public.

Where does your donation go?

This is one of the most immediately-impacting donation one can make. If you purchase a magazine for £2.50, the profit (£1.25) goes straight to the vendor, who can reinvest it straight into his or her stock (more magazines) for further sales efforts, and pays for costs of living such as rent, food and clothes. The social enterprise itself gets £1.25 from the vendor which helps produce more magazines to sell.

If you donate through other methods, here’s a list of real life examples of how donations change people’s lives and give them the tools to positively impact their futures.

£10.70 covered the cost of attending a housing meeting in Birmingham to find a place to live

£17.99 helped someone from Bath purchase trainers to get fit in order to join the British Armed Forces

£77.20 helped someone take her driving theory and practical tests to help prepare her for future job opportunities

£200 enabled someone buy his first set of tools to start a plumbing course

The Big Impact

In 2017/18 the generosity of the public made it possible for The Big Issue Foundation Service Brokers support over 1,000 vendors and helped them become financially independent and start re-integrating themselves back into society.

In all, there was a total of 642 positive outcomes. Each individual set themselves personal targets for the year to be judged by, the same as we all do at work.

Here are some of the inspiring stories the Big Issue Foundation has to share

172 Vendors achieved their sales targets and improved their sales skills, and helped them build up a network of regular customers

53 vendors were able to explore future career opportunities by adding to their CVs, and taking advice on preparing for interviews and job searching

90 vendors were able to attain permanent addresses, meaning they are now able to visit their local healthcare professionals such as GPs, dentists, mental health specialists

78 people were able to reconnect with family

Get involved

Taking part in, or organising your own fundraising events is a great way to have fun whilst donating to a charity or cause you deeply care about.

The Big Issue Foundation has many events you can take part in, most notably The Big London Night Walk, which two Savoo-ers have taken part in in the past. A 20km walk through London at night, stopping off in various locations to listen to Big Issue vendors talk about the experiences, and having the chance to speak to current homeless people makes it is truly a fantastic experience, aches and pains aside. You get a glimpse of what someone has to sadly go through every night, and something Adam and Flora would recommend to anyone. Have a read through our blog post about it so you know what to expect.

Gifts in kind such as your time and expertise are extremely valuable to a charity, as it helps make organising events such as the Night Walk a lot easier. There are opportunities to help in the office, or help make events run smoothly by being there to answer questions or point people in the right direction. A great place to start is the volunteering section of their website.


1-5 Wandsworth Road

Contact Number

020 7526 3454