Big Issue sellers back on streets as lockdown restrictions ease

Lord John Bird, founder of The Big Issue, marks the return of the magazine's network of vendors

Big Issue vendors will return to the streets on Monday to sell the magazine for the first time since the third national lockdown.

Hundreds of vendors will resume selling the magazine to the public in person for the first time in 22 weeks as restrictions caused by the coronavirus crisis continue to ease.

Measures have been taken to make sure vendors and customers are safe, including the provision of extensive personal protective equipment, contactless card payment, and stringent health and safety procedures in all distribution offices.

Lord Bird with Big Issue vendors at St Martins in the Fields on Trafalgar Square

Lord John Bird, founder of the Big Issue, marked the return by meeting with five London-based vendors at St-Martin-in-the-Fields on Trafalgar Square, where the first-ever edition of the magazine was officially launched nearly 30 years ago.

Lord Bird said: "We are full of pride and hope that, after over 22 weeks of being in lockdown, our vendors are back out there, able to reconnect with their local communities and earn a legitimate income once again.

"As ever, we wish to thank all those who have so generously supported us and our vendors during this challenging time.

"Every donation and subscription that has been made or taken out, has meant that we have been able to support vendors while they have been unable to sell the magazine safely on the streets."

Dave Martin, 59, who usually sells the magazine in Hammersmith, London, said: "When I get back to selling the magazine I hope I see everyone. You get a connection, you have a rapport and I hope everyone is OK with Covid going on.

"The Big Issue's staff have welcomed me back and I like to be here. It's a social thing. It's not just about selling the magazine."

Will Herbert, 61, who sells at Highbury and Islington, said: "I'm really excited to be back selling Big Issues. I have had so much time at home and had free time on my hands, so going back will be lovely. Looking forward to seeing all my lovely customers."