The Big Issue will celebrate 25 years this week, marking the quarter-century milestone with a very special bumper birthday magazine edition out on Friday June 4.
“It’s awesome that The Big Issue is turning 25,” says vendor Lee, who lives in Chippendale. “It does a good job of helping people and vendors. Before coming to The Big Issue I was unemployed for 10 years.”
Lee sells at Tramsheds and Marrickville Market on the weekends. On weekdays he works in North Sydney. He has also worked at Broadway and Glebe Markets.
“I started seven years ago, in 2014. I love being in the community, getting to know people and faces. I have regular customers who buy from me often.
“I also have lots of signage on pitch, I have a big sign that I use to put a poster of the magazine on, and I also have been using an A-frame sign.
“I haven’t seen many vendors since coming back to work [after pandemic restrictions], it’ll be good to see each other and have a yarn. We get on well.”
Bumper issue celebrates rich history
The 76-page commemorative edition will celebrate 25 years of The Big Issue’s rich history, told through the eyes of its magazine vendors – those experiencing homelessness, marginalisation and disadvantage.
The Big Issue magazine was launched in Melbourne in 1996 and has since expanded to six states and territories with hundreds of vendors proudly donning the iconic Big Issue fluoro vest every day.
Since its first edition, more than 7,000 vendors have sold 13 million copies of the magazine, to a significant readership of over 250,000 people per year – putting $32 million into the pockets of those living on the margins.
The Big Issue CEO Steven Persson said The Big Issue is an agent for social change, and it is more committed than ever to helping people build confidence and capacity to help themselves.
“At its heart, The Big Issue is a community and together, we are in the business of taking people out of poverty. For 25 years, we have done just that,” Mr Persson said.
“Our unique model not only provides opportunities for people to earn an income, but importantly, to build confidence and their capacity to help themselves.
“The sense of pride, purpose and community inclusion that comes with proudly working as a Big Issue vendor can be life changing. We commend the thousands of vendors who have proudly made positive changes in their lives over the past 25 years.”
Mr Persson thanked The Big Issue’s community of vendors, program participants, readers, supporters, partners, volunteers and staff for their commitment to making a difference.
“You have stood alongside The Big Issue for 25 years and shown your dedication to alleviating poverty in our community. We thank you for showing faith in a unique model that provides positive, sustainable employment solutions for those who need it most,” he said.
“On our birthday, our wish is that you continue supporting The Big Issue and our vendors – first and foremost, by picking up a copy of our commemorative 25th birthday magazine.”
You can also join in the birthday celebrations online by tuning in to the 25 Years Big video, launching on June 4 at thebigissue.org.au/25-years-big. This exclusive video features stories and birthday messages from our vendors, customers, partners, contributors and more, including a special birthday message from musician Jimmy Barnes.
The Big Issue runs social enterprises to create work opportunities for people who are unable to access mainstream jobs – and the best known of these enterprises is The Big Issue magazine. See thebigissue.org.au/.