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Partner profile

The Big Issue Foundation

The Big Issue Foundation, 1-5 Wandsworth Road, London SW8 2LN
+44 (0)20 7526 3200

About us

The Big Issue offers some of the most excluded people in the country a unique opening to take some control of their lives and earn a legitimate income. Vendors make a personal choice to buy their magazines with their own money, taking charge of their finances and sales whilst developing the skills required to retail to the public.

Vendors buy the Big Issue magazine for 50% of the cover price. The magazines are not free and we do not operate a sale or return policy. We believe in the merits of work and do all we can to support Big Issue vendors as they move their own ‘micro-businesses’ forward.

The formula is simple but challenging. Becoming a vendor gives people who are homeless or sleeping rough, in temporary accommodation, in danger of losing a home or unemployed and facing financial crisis the opportunity to sell a weekly entertainment and current affairs magazine to earn money. We are unique because our service users are working, they are our ‘customers’ and not our ‘clients’.

The Big Issue Foundation is a financially independent charity for people who are homeless. We build around the unique trust that we establish with people who are homeless as they purchase magazines. We support and encourage vendors to make further changes to their lives so they can move away from homelessness and back into main stream society. We believe change is possible and never give up on people no matter how challenging or complex their needs, wants and aspirations may be.

We believe in a 'hand up not a hand out', and recognise that earning an income is often only the first step on a persons' journey away from homelessness. Our charity work for people who are homeless focuses on delivering brighter futures, boosting self esteem and helping vendors to reclaim their citizenship.

We offer

We are often approached at a time of unimaginable personal crisis. Our front line team focuses on cultivating strong working relationships with Big Issue vendors and connects them to services and the vital bespoke support that is needed to help people who are homeless journey away from the street.

Health: Access to health care including dentistry, eye care, foot care, immunizations, sexual health care, registering with a GP and accessing substance misuse treatment.

Finance: Help gaining ID, opening a bank/credit union account and accessing financial products with a focus on developing a savings culture. 

Housing: Support to end rough sleeping and access to temporary and permanent housing 

Aspirations: Access to training and employment opportunities, support re-establishing family networks and opportunities to take up hobbies and interests. We have found this to be the most efficient and cost-effective way to support our vendors as a charity for people who are homeless. 

The front line average cost of a positive outcome for a homeless person is just over £200. Additionally, our national ‘Vendor Support Fund’ is available on application to vendors throughout the United Kingdom. The fund aims to give a small hand up to vendors with a specific objective in mind.

Vendors save and contribute 20% towards the cost of the item required. We grant the additional 80% from our donated funds to help make the ideal a reality.

£10.70 covered the costs for Michael to attend a housing appointment in Birmingham.
£17.99 helped John from Bath get trainers to help him get fit before joining the Army.
£50.40 bought Chris from Oxford a new suit and shoes for a job interview.
£77.50 provided Anna from Bristol with a passport to use as official ID to open a bank account.
£200 enabled Paul from Plymouth to buy a set of tools for the start of his plumbing course.

“A hand up is what The Big Issue offers, helping me to be self sufficient and being the guiding light I needed”. Eliot Schofield, Big Issue Vendor.

We support

  • Avon
  • People
  • Networks
  • Cornwall
  • Somerset


The Big Issue offers people who are homeless the opportunity to earn their own money; a livelihood. The Big Issue Foundation, as a charity for people who are homeless, offers vendors the opportunity of a life. We work tirelessly alongside our vendors to help them deal with the issues that have caused their homelessness or have developed as a result of hitting the streets.

It can be as little as 12 months from a significant life event to losing everything and arriving on the street. Last year alone we worked with over 3000 individuals, enabling people who are homeless to take control of their lives.

We have a unique relationship with our vendors because they are our 'customers' and not our 'clients'. We offer the hand of support and believe that personal change is always possible no matter how challenging or complex the situation. We try to offer vendors the opportunity to integrate in all aspects of our work including all our fundraising events such as our London to Paris ride where several vendors have ridden the amazing journey with supporters to help raise vital funds and awareness for our work.

Never look down on someone unless you are helping them up. As you go about your daily life please do stop and say hello to a vendor, buy a magazine and go a little further. Our work is 100% reliant on the support of our donors, please make a donation to the Big Issue Foundation, join us on one of our amazing events, come up with your own idea to raise funds and do it yourself, or take the plunge and volunteer for charity.

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