The Big Issue is homelessness

Deborah Hobson

It is estimated that there are at least a million people in Britain who are homeless. Half a million of them are living on the streets or in doorways and the rest are in squats or temporary shelters.

Unemployment, debt, relationship breakdown, mental health issues and the effects of years spent in care, the armed forces or prison are the most common causes of homelessness

Offering “a hand up, not a hand out” is one of the key ideas behind weekly entertainment and current affairs magazine The Big Issue.

Founded in 1991 by John Bird and Gordon Roddick (co-founder of the Body Shop), The Big Issue exists to offer homeless and vulnerably housed people the opportunity to earn a legitimate income. Vendors buy the magazines from Big Issue offices around the UK for 75p each and sell them to the public for £1.50, keeping 75p for themselves.   

The Big Issue Foundation, the charitable arm of The Big Issue, endeavours to link vendors with the vital support which will help them address the concerns that led to their homelessness.  

Reminding us that Christmas is an appropriate and poignant time to increase awareness about the plight of the destitute, The Big Issue Foundation recently held its first “Famous, Rich and Homeless Christmas Curry” fundraising event in Islington, London.

The evening was hosted by writer, comedian and Tv presenter Hardeep Singh Kohli,  pictured left, who along with four other celebrities spent 10 days sleeping rough in London as part of the BBC One two-part documentary Famous, Rich and Homeless which was screened earlier in the year. Hardeep is an ambassador for The Big Issue Foundation.  

Attended by a range of supporters, including Big Issue vendors, the publisher and editor of The Big Issue magazine, the editor and deputy editor of The-Latest and a group from the CNN broadcasting network, the event has been captured in images shared here for your enjoyment by talented photographer and Big Issue seller Adrian Cox.

He said: “The Big Issue Foundation helped pay part of my college fees, buy equipment and gave me the opportunity to work as a freelance photographer. In that respect, I will be eternally grateful”.

More of Adrian's images can be viewed in his photo gallery on The-Latest.

*Anthony North is head of fundraising for The Big Issue Foundation. He can be contacted on: 020 7526 3200.

*Susan Anderson is assistant major donor fundraiser. Telephone: 020 7526 3452. Email: