Big Issue vendors across the region face 'very desperate times'

A Big Issue vendor from Plymouth has spoken about the "desperate times" the coronavirus lockdown has left vendors like him in across the region.

There are around 2000 Big Issue vendors across the UK, all of whom rely on shoppers buying the magazine to make an income.

But with high streets empty, their earnings have been reduced to nothing.

Clive can usually be seen outside Plymouth Theatre Royal. Credit: ITV West Country

Clive, who can usually be seen outside the Theatre Royal in Plymouth, has had to temporarily stop selling on the streets and self-isolate. He told ITV News:

I really miss being outside the theatre, it's such a big part of my life, when I stopped drinking on the streets, theatre became my life to replace that and not to having that is very desperate times really.

Clive, Big Issue Vendor from Plymouth
50% of any money coming through new subscriptions, donations to the website, or purchases of a digital copy of the magazine will now go to vendors. Credit: ITV West Country

Big Issue, who help people living in poverty, has set up an emergency support fund to help their vendors during the crisis.

They will also go on sale in two major high-street shops for the first time in their 29-year history, with the profits going straight into a vendor support fund.

The magazine was created to help those living in poverty. Credit: ITV West Country

Ultimately it is about respecting the rights of our vendors at this time and just doing all we can to encourage them to get the help they need.

Chris Falchi-Stead, Director, Sales and Operations, Big Issue
There are around 2000 Big Issue vendors across the UK. Credit: ITV West Country

Clive says he's "trying to be optimistic". He said:

I try and think well, when we do come out of it, everybody is going to want to go to the theatre, so good times are coming, we've just got the wait to the other side, so I'm thinking when the theatre does reopen there will be crowds of people coming through and enjoying themselves and having a good time and I'll be part of that again.

Clive, Big Issue Vendor from Plymouth