Sunday, 20 September 2009

Happy Birthday Big Issue! Creating meaningful work for the homeless

I had the extreme good fortune to be invited to the 18th Birthday Party of The Big Issue last week. For those of you who live in cities in the UK, The Big Issue is now a well known entertainment and current affairs magazine which is sold by homeless vendors. They buy the magazine from the charity for 75 pence and sell it for £1.50, thereby making 75 pence for themselves per copy.

The great thing about The Big Issue is that, while there were over 500 charities helping the homeless at the time it was started, it was the only charity which gave homeless and vulnerably housed people the opportunity to earn a legitimate income.

The charity believes in offering ‘a hand up, not a hand out’ and earning an income is the first step on the journey away from homelessness.

It has worked for 18 years, and work gives dignity to what can be a very demoralising situation.

Do you think of your your work as dignifying? What is it helping you to do?

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