3 February 2016

Big Issue North readers and supporters are spending an hour in the shoes of the people who sell the magazine next week, as part of #VendorWeek.

Kind-hearted members of the public have responded in their droves to a request from Big Issue North, looking for people to find out first-hand the challenges faced by the magazines vendors.

#VendorWeek is an international event organised by INSP (International Network of Street Papers). During the event, people across the world give up an hour of their day to sell their local street paper.

More than 25 people across the North will take to the streets from 6-10 February to do their bit. This includes five Sheffield residents, who will kick off the event, selling across the city centre on Monday, 6 February. Among those giving their time includes Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Jayne Dunn.

2017 marks a break from tradition for Big Issue North, who have previously joined forces with high-profile people from the world of music, the arts and business. As always though, all the money guest sellers make while selling Big Issue North will go straight to the vendor whom they sell alongside.

Councillor Jayne Dunn, Cabinet Member for Housing at Sheffield City Council, said: “Big Issue North does incredible work and I’m pleased to help launch their campaign to support vendors.

“The people who sell Big Issue North do a hard job standing outside in all weathers and always being polite. And it is a job, a really positive one which is helping them improve their lives.

“I know the sellers have had hard times, and many have been homeless. That’s why it’s so important to support them and the steps their making to improve their lives.”

Speaking following his stint during #VendorWeek in 2016, Reverend and the Makers frontman Jon McClure said: “It was very insightful. I got ignored a lot – being the lead singer in a band, it’s hard to be ignored, it’s a blow to your ego, so I had to get used to it. But I enjoyed the experience overall.”

Fay Selvan, from Big Issue North and chair of INSP, said:  “It’s great for Big Issue North to take part in Vendor Week for the third year running, raising awareness of the challenges facing the people who sell the magazine and hopefully boosting their sales.

“It’s also been amazing to see how many members of the public are keen to give their time to support us – it shows that magazines like Big Issue North are valuable parts of the cultural landscape, but above all highlights the kindness and generosity of our readers. I’d like to thank all of them for their contribution to Vendor Week, and hope that it will be a rewarding experience.”

INSP Chief Executive Maree Aldam added: “This is a fantastic idea. Big Issue North are always very innovative in the way they use INSP’s #VendorWeek event to raise awareness of the magazine, share vendors’ stories and attract new readers.

“This project will give readers a first-hand experience of the hard work and commitment that goes into being a Big Issue North vendor. The feedback that we’ve had from previous guest vendors – from celebrities and business leaders alike – has been very powerful, with most finding the experience humbling and enlightening.

“I’m sure this event will have a really positive impact for Big Issue North and its vendors. We look forward to hearing more about it to share with our international network, and I’m sure that next year we will see street papers in other countries running similar events!”

Release originally issued by Big Issue North