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Big Issue Group merges foundation into new CIC


The Big Issue Group has merged the Big Issue Foundation along with its company frontline sales operation into a new CIC, called the Big Issue Changing Lives Community Interest Company.   

The move was announced on 1 June and is designed to bring these frontline operations together to extend the reach of Big Issue’s services. It follows a 10% increase in vendors in 2022 and a 20% increase in vendors needing urgent support, and is also in response to changes in how people work, shop, and make payments.

All Big Issue Foundation frontline staff are transferring to the CIC and the support staff in fundraising and finance will transfer across to the Big Issue Company, with no redundancies made in the process, according to the Group.

Over the last 28 years, the Big Issue has supported vendors through two distinct frontline services teams: a sales team and a support and outreach team. The frontline sales team has been a part of the Big Issue media business and has supported vendors to sell the magazine and to earn a living. The frontline service team has provided vendors with wellbeing, debt, mental health and employment support.

During the pandemic, the two teams worked as one to provide support to vendors who were unable to sell. The organisation believes that with changing work and shopping patterns, and the growth in cashless society, the sales and outreach support of vendors will need to adapt quickly and that this will be best delivered through one combined team.  

In 2022, the Big Issue Foundation supported 1,174 vendors to access support services, including housing, wellbeing, financial advice and support, employment, and food and fuel support.

Alison Newman, Big Issue Foundation Chair, said:

“It has been an absolute privilege to lead the Foundation for the last five years and I am indebted to my fellow trustees and staff, who have created a strong and effective organisation that has grown its services whilst making a profound difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in society.


“As Trustees our responsibility is to steward the Foundation to the best of our abilities.  The landscape has changed significantly over recent years forcing us to think hard about the optimal way to support vendors.  After extensive conversations with Big Issue Group over recent months, we have agreed to move towards a new chapter for vendor support and we are proud that we pass the Foundation onto the CIC in such good shape.”

Lord Bird, Founder of the Big Issue, said:

“We are indebted to the Big Issue Foundation, its Trustees, CEOs, and staff, past and present, for the fantastic commitment they have given to all of the vendors it has worked with and supported over the last 28 years. It has provided us with an amazing platform with which to begin the next stage of our journey for vendors and others. This new structure brings together the incredibly talented and dedicated teams that both support and fundraise for our vendors.”

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