As Greater Manchester, along with the rest of England, enters a third lockdown this week, Big Issue North vendors face a dire predicament: they are once again not permitted to sell the magazine.
The 350 people who sell Big Issue North are self-employed, buying magazines from offices across the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber for £1.50 before selling them on the streets for £3.
This means that they are not eligible for furlough. And as they cannot work from home, hundreds of homeless and vulnerably housed people now find themselves without a source of desperately needed income.
During the first lockdown, frontline staff paid out a total of £500 each day to support vendors’ cost of living, from rent and bills for those in their own accommodation to essential shopping and transport.
This time, say Big Issue North, they expect to pay out even more, as they experienced an influx of new vendors when the first lockdown was lifted, and the bitter cold will lead to an increased need for help with accommodation and bills.
They estimate that they will need £10,000 to support all of their vendors through this period of lockdown.
How to help
There are several ways that members of the public can help.
You can make a donation to their hardship fund, providing everything vendors need to survive the weeks ahead, by texting HARDSHIP to 70970 to give £5, or going to easydonate.org/HARDSHIP.
People can continue to buy Big Issue North either in Sainsbury’s (including online), Co-Op, McColl’s or Booths, or online at issuu.com/bigissuenorth.
Half the cost of each magazine will go directly to the hardship fund, with the rest covering production costs.
You can subscribe to Big Issue North, either by purchasing a three, six or twelve month subscription package at shop.bigissuenorth.com, or by taking out a weekly direct debit at pay.gocardless.com/AL0003E9T4AAG1.
Poeple can also shop online at the official Big Issue North shop, shop.bigissuenorth.com.
Their top product is a new quarterly subscription magazine, The New Issue, which contains stunning photography combined with high-quality independent writing, covering everything from changing landscapes and social issues to lifestyle and fiction.
Other items include back issues, music merchandise, handmade jewellery and homeware.
You can also purchase the Big Issue North 2021 calendar, featuring recipes for twelve vendors’ favourite dishes, transformed by Chorlton restaurant The Creameries chef and Eat Well MCR founder Mary-Ellen McTague.
And finally, you could buy a mask from etsy.com/uk/shop/MancMadeltd, with £1 from every sale going to the Big Issue North hardship fund.