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Big Issue sets out plan for vendors’ safe return to selling on streets

UK News | Published: | Last Updated:

Personal protective equipment will be provided, and the trend towards cashless payments will be speeded up from July 6.

Big Issue vendors Will Herbert (left) and Mike Danks wearing PPE

Big Issue vendors are being given personal protective equipment and contactless card machines when they return to the streets next week.

The move is part of measures to keep them safe as they resume selling the magazine in England, Wales and Scotland from July 6.

The 2,000 vendors were withdrawn on March 20 because of the economic lockdown, although sales of the Big Issue have continued through subscriptions and at supermarkets and other stores.

The Big Issue Group said it has set out a health and safety plan of action which ensures that vendors are able to sell the magazine safely and customers are able to buy with confidence.

Vendors might be based in a slightly different location than normal, and they will be given face masks, visors, latex gloves and anti-bacterial gel as well as new bags to house their magazines.

The recent trend towards cashless payments is being sped up.

The price of The Big Issue is being increased to £3, with half going to the vendors.

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Lord John Bird, founder of The Big Issue said: “We want to thank everyone who has supported us and our vendors along the journey we have been through, the generosity of the wonderful British public, our corporate partners, investees, other social enterprises and charities, celebrities, the media and many many more.

“These essential funds have meant that we have been able to support vendors while they have been unable to sell the magazine safely on the streets.

“We have undertaken a huge health and safety review and put in place a range of measures designed to ensure vendors are able to sell safely from July 6.

Mike Danks models the PPE
Mike Danks models the PPE (Big Issue/PA)

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“We want to ensure the public feel 100% safe when choosing to buy from our vendors and have followed the government Covid-19 health and safety guidelines.

“The Big Issue exists to offer a hand up, and in keeping with that spirit our vendors are passionate about getting back to earning their own income and being in control of their own finances and lives once again.”

Mike Danks, who usually sells the magazine in Finsbury Park, London, said: “The Big Issue has helped me to get back into socialising and meeting people and to get out and about. The staff have also helped me a great deal to sort out my life, which seems to have fallen apart for a while. I am excited to get out and about and meet people again and make contact.”

Will Herbert, who usually sells in Islington, London, said: “I miss my customers dearly. I had some really lovely customers and I can’t wait to see them. The Big Issue has provided us with the PPE kit to keep us all safe in this drastic situation we find ourselves in at the moment.”

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