Big Issue sellers face hardship as they are driven from streets by lockdown

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HUNDREDS of Big Issue sellers in the north of England have been driven off the streets as a result of the third national lockdown.

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.

But the homeless and vulnerably housed vendors have lost their desperately needed income because they cannot work from home and are not eligible for furlough.

Howard, a Big Issue North vendor from Leeds, has been driven from the streets by the lockdown, losing 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.

Big Issue North estimate they will need £10,000 to support vendors through the current lockdown.

They say the bitter cold will lead to an increased need for help with accommodation and bills.

There are several ways that members of the public can help.

They are asking for donations to their hardship fund by texting HARDSHIP to 70970 to give £5, or going to http://easydonate.org/HARDSHIP

Supporters can also continue to buy Big Issue North either in Sainsbury’s, including online, Co-Op, McColl’s or Booths, or online at https://issuu.com/bigissuenorth.

Other options include taking out a subscription, shopping at the official Big Issue North online shop –  https://shop.bigissuenorth.com/ – and buying a mask from www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MancMadeltd, with £1 from every sale going to the Big Issue North hardship fund.