The Big Issue vendors return to selling

People of Adelaide At Work

After ‘staying home to stay safe’ for the last three months, some 50 vendors will don their fluro vests and return to the streets across South Australia, including the CBD and North Adelaide, from Monday 29 June 2020 - proudly holding up their bumper ‘Welcome Back’ print editions of the much-loved Australian magazine The Big Issue.

The Big Issue is an independent, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting and creating work opportunities for people experiencing homelessness, marginalisation and disadvantage. Their fortnightly street magazine is what they are best known for, but due to the COVID-19 crisis, street selling was temporarily suspended in March. A digital version of the magazine was made available during this time to continue supporting vendors and bring content to readers, but vendors nationwide are thrilled to be heading back out into their communities to sell direct.

The big issue vendor ron al edm

Look out for the return of vendors like Ron (above) who usually sells on Pirie Street and near Zuma Café at the Adelaide Central Market, as well as on O’Connell Street in North Adelaide.

“We are so pleased to be welcoming our vendors back to street selling. Our vendors have been sorely missed over the past few months and we know how much they’re looking forward to getting back to work and seeing their regular customers. It has been a very challenging period for those living on the margins, with the inability to work and earn an income having a big impact on some of the most disadvantaged in our community.”
Steven Persson, The Big Issue CEO

Around 2,000 printed copies of each edition of The Big Issue are normally sold every fortnight throughout South Australia alone by around 50 vendors. The model work likes this: vendors buy copies of the magazine for $4.50 and sell them for $9, keeping the difference.

Deb the big issue vendor

Deb is another Adelaide vendor who will be returning to the city once more.

The return to street selling from Monday 29 June will see several new COVID-safe measures put in place to ensure the health and wellbeing of vendors, customers and the broader community. Having undergone COVID-19 safety training, vendors will be equipped with digital payment devices, magazine display boxes, hand sanitiser and social distancing signage. Magazines can be purchased with cash, card or Beem It payments.

One city vendor who’s been looking forward to getting back out selling is Jason, who usually sets himself up at Hindmarsh Square / Mukata, Adelaide.

“During this time I’ve been watching TV and going for walks, trying to fill in a bit of time. I’m looking forward to being able to earn some money, but also coming back to see my regulars and have social interaction. When I go to sell The Big Issue, I really feel bright and happy."
Jason, Adelaide The Big Issue vendor

The big issue welcome back cover

Around the country, The Big Issue organisation has received an overwhelming amount of support over the past few months, and they hope to see their loyal community continue that meaningful support by purchasing a physical copy once again from their local vendors.

“Every magazine sold represents countless opportunities for people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage to earn an income and connect with their community, said Steven Persson.

The ‘Welcome Back’ edition features stories about vendors’ personal experiences during the COVID-19 crisis, interviews with Spike Lee and author Rutger Bregman and a Letter To My Younger Self by Olympian Lisa Curry.

If you want to never miss a copy, you can also purchase print magazines through a short or long-term subscriptions basis - getting each edition delivered direct to your door.

Purchase subscriptions.

Article by

Skye Murtagh

Skye Murtagh

Skye is Adelaide Living's main driving force. She is passionate about sharing stories from all walks of life. When she's not busy weaving beautiful words together, she's singing a line or two from her favourite song.