On Monday 6th July 2020, 2,000 Big Issue vendors across England, Scotland and Wales are making their eager return to their pitches, ready to sell the magazine for the first time since lockdown began in March.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, The Big Issue had to temporarily ask all vendors to stop selling magazines on the streets to prevent the spread of disease. However, since the easing of lockdown measures in the U.K., The Big Issue has taken steps such as the provision of extensive PPE and contactless card payment equipment, as well as introducing stringent health and safety procedures in all distribution offices to ensure the safety of vendors and customers.
One thing all the vendors have missed during is their customers. On his first day back to work, vendor, Will Adams, who usually sells The Big Issue in Exeter, said “It was just nice to see people again”.
[audio audio="http://www.wizardradio.co.uk/podcasts/NinaPorterInterviewsWillAdams_BigIssueReturns.mp3" title="Interview with Will Adams" descr=""]
"IT WAS JUST NICE TO SEE PEOPLE AGAIN" - WILL ADAMS, BIG ISSUE VENDOR
John Bird OBE, founder of The Big Issue said: “It fills us with pride and joy to announce that Big Issue vendors are back out selling as of today. We want to thank everyone who has supported us and vendors over the past 15 weeks. It’s a simple fact that we couldn’t have got through such a perilous time without the overwhelming generosity everyone has shown us”.
The Big Issue has overcome the challenges brought by COVID-19 through operating in new ways, such as supplying the Big Issue magazine in local supermarkets, launching a new digital app and online subscription service. Further, it looks to form a ‘Ride Out Recession Alliance’ to bring people together to work with the government to prevent people in danger of becoming homeless, especially during COVID times.
Listen to what John Bird MBE had to say to Nina Porter.
[audio audio="http://www.wizardradio.co.uk/podcasts/NinaPorterInterviewsJohnBirdMBE_BigIssueReturns.mp3" title="Interview with John Bird MBE" descr=""]