‘We care about the vendors’: How the Big Issue helps those struggling in Manchester

Homelessness is on the rise in Manchester, but the Big Issue North is dedicated to helping those who are struggling.

On the surface, the Big Issue North seems to be a weekly magazine like any other, with content including news, music and real life.

But what makes the Big Issue North different is its commitment to helping people in need. The magazine is only sold through vendors who are struggling, which includes people who are homeless and those who are struggling to pay the bills.

The vendors buy the magazines for £1.25 each and go on to sell them for £2.50, which they keep.

The Big Issue North, independent from the Big Issue in the rest of the UK, is clear on the fact that it is a business and not a charity. With a small, hard-working team behind the publication, it’s essential that it does make some money.

“As an organisation, we care about the vendors,” said the magazine’s editor, Kevin Gopal, “we’re also concerned about producing high-quality magazine.”

The Big Issue North Trust, however, is a charity that provides advice and guidance to people struggling in life. It also holds fundraising events, which the vendors are always invited to join in on.

“Generally, it supports vendors in attaining their aims,” said Daniel Achim, the Big Issue North’s service manager.

“This can be to do with employment, it can be building a CV, and some people need extra help learning English. It just helps people to get a little bit further on their journey to achieving their goals.”

Colin, who has been selling the Big Issue around Manchester for 6 years, said: “[Selling the Big Issue] gets me out meeting people and helps me pay the bills.”

“I’ve been here for so long that when the theater moved down the road, they asked me to come with them. I’ve become part of the furniture.”

£2.50 is a cup of coffee to most people, but to others it can mean as much as helping keep a roof over their heads.

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