The other day whilst I was doing some temp work for a local homeless charity, I read a copy of The Big Issue for the first time.
Of course like most people who frequent any city centre in the UK, I have been asked countless times if I wanted to buy a copy and I have always ashamedly avoided eye contact, uttered ‘no thank you’ and carried on going about my day. I’ve always thought that the magazine wouldn’t interest me and to be truthful, my ignorance made me think that it would perhaps be a waste of money.
But that is until I discovered what a difference that magazine can make to somebody who is facing life on the streets.
The company uses the slogan ‘working not begging’ and it is true. It is explained inside the magazine that vendors purchase the weekly copies at the cost of £1.25 from The Big Issue and they then sell it on to members of the public for £2.50. This gives many people the opportunity of employment and the chance to turn their lives around.
Many of the people who sell The Big Issue have lost everything- their jobs, their families and their homes, often through no fault of their own. By providing someone in this situation with a job, rather than a hand-out, you are giving them the responsibility and pride that comes with earning your own money.
Not only are you helping somebody by buying a copy, but in my opinion it is actually a pretty good magazine. It features articles and interviews from household names and celebrity faces, along with reviews of the latest films and entertainment. The articles are varied and thought-provoking, a welcome change from some of the fashion and celebrity gossip magazines that I usually find myself reading.
Now that I know the difference that this magazine can make to an individual, I have vowed to not turn the other cheek and to buy a copy each time that I am in town. Knowing that for the price of a coffee, you can make a whole lot of difference for somebody who is facing a life on the streets makes it worth every penny.
Did you buy The Big Issue? Leave a comment below!