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big issue

Created: 1991
Where: London
Scale: Has helped over 92,000 vendors earn £115 million

Social innovations have the potential to bring radical change to the lives of even the most ostracised members of our society. The hopelessness and social stigma tied to homelessness often acts as a barrier to individuals returning to work and turning their lives around.

Recognising the need for ‘a hand up, not a hand out’, The Big Issue was developed as an alternative newspaper written by journalists and sold on the streets. It is now one of the UK’s leading social ventures, supporting homeless people by offering them a way to earn money, allowing them to buy copies at a reduced price and selling them on for a profit.

Through establishing a regular income, people dealing with homelessness can foster some stability and reconnect with society. The Big Issue Foundation also encourages and supports access to healthcare and psychological support, giving their sellers the best possible chance at helping themselves.