The Big Issue to be stocked in major retailers to support vendors

  • For the first time in the organisation’s 29 year history, The Big Issue magazine will be available to buy in retail outlets.
  • Sainsbury’s will be the first major supermarket to stock The Big Issue from 2 April in hundreds of stores and online
  • McColl’s to stock the street newspaper in 1,400 stores across the UK
  • Street sales for The Big Issue magazine have disappeared completely as a consequence of the UK lockdown, leaving vulnerable vendors unable to sell the magazine and without an income

From today (2nd April, 2020) for the first time, The Big Issue, the magazine sold by some of the UK’s most vulnerable people to lift themselves out of poverty, will be sold by major retailers, Sainsbury’s and McColl’s to maximise sales in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Big Issue will be available to purchase from Sainsbury’s for its customers both online and in selected stores and from McColl’s, Martin’s and RS McColl in store as a temporary measure, with the magazine remaining on sale until Big Issue vendors are able to return to work.

The Big Issue, which offers homeless and vulnerably housed people across the UK a means by which to earn a legitimate income, recently had to take the decision to safeguard its network of vendors by asking that they stop selling on streets across the whole of the UK with immediate effect on 20th March for the foreseeable future.

The listings in Sainsbury’s and McColl’s are the latest in a series of innovations by The Big Issue Group to provide readers with alternative ways to purchase the magazine and help support vendors up and down the country in the face of adversity.

Customers will be able to purchase copies of The Big Issue in 164 Sainsbury’s stores, rolling out to 315 over the coming weeks, and 1,400 McColl’s stores for the price of £3.00 with 50% of net proceeds going into a vendor support fund.

Lord John Bird, Founder of The Big Issue, said: “We have helped well over 100,000 people over the past 29 years, and on average we put £5m into the pockets of our vendors every single year. Now more than ever, we need your support. Our income comes from street sales and without our vendors on the streets we cannot support those people that really need us now and in the future.”

“We are thrilled that the good folk at Sainsbury’s and McColl’s have partnered with us so that readers new and old can continue to buy The Big Issue during these turbulent times. As usual, we go half and half with our vendors. You can also buy a magazine online or subscribe for three months whilst your vendor isn’t on the street.”

Paul Mills-Hicks, Commercial Director at Sainsbury’s said: “We are proud to be supporting a cause as important as The Big Issue Group, which exists to offer homeless people, or individuals at risk of becoming homeless the opportunity to earn an income. Coronavirus has affected everyone in the UK, and it’s important that we show our support for each other in these increasingly challenging times.

“We hope that by providing a means for our customers to purchase a copy of The Big Issue, we can encourage people to continue to buy the magazine, which so many vulnerable people rely on.”

Jonathan Miller, Chief Executive, McColl’s, said: “We are delighted to be supporting The Big Issue at this important time. We urge our customers to lend their help by buying copies of the magazine available at our stores to help the organisation’s street vendors who will be struggling to make a living as people stay at home amid the coronavirus outbreak.”

The Big Issue was founded 29 years ago and is a social enterprise which exists to dismantle poverty by creating opportunities, through self-help, social trading and business solutions.

Vendors come from a variety of backgrounds and face a range of issues, but all are experiencing the effects of poverty. Since its launch in 1991, over 200 million copies of The Big Issue magazine have been sold by over 100,000 vulnerable people.

To purchase a copy of The Big Issue and keep up to date on the latest measures, please visit https://www.sainsburys.co.uk. 50% of net proceeds will go to vendors needing their help. The remaining 50% will enable The Big Issue to continue its vital work with vendors now and in the future.

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