The Big Issue celebrates 25 years on the UK's streets this week, with a retrospective exhibition in London, a star-studded film - and, of course - a bumper special edition of the magazine. High profile fans, including Julie Walters, Michael Palin, Mark Hamill and Chvrches singer Lauren Mayberry, sent their best wishes. Meanwhile, vendors and former vendors spoke about what the street paper means to them. James Bowen, whose life is the basis for the new movie A Street Cat Named Bob, said: "I owe so much to The Big Issue."
From an old police tardis on Edinburgh’s famous Leith Walk to award-winning sustainable business, Edinburgh Tool Library is one of Scotland’s social enterprise stories of the year. As the first of its kind in the UK, the library allows people to borrow tools helping them improve their homes and communities. INSP speaks to two members about how their lives have benefitted from Chris’ big social idea.
Slovakia’s only street paper toasted its birthday with staff, vendors and friends. “It’s helped me to survive from day to day,” vendor Silvia said of the paper.
Award-winning Swedish street paper Faktum turns 15 this month. To celebrate, they're publishing a special bumper edition of the magazine, and are holding a big party for vendors, staff, readers and supporters. Faktum is produced in Gothenburg and is sold in eight cities across southern Sweden. They sell 34,000 copies every month and work with about 1,000 vendors each year. We spoke to Faktum editor Sarah Britz to find out what the anniversary means to her - and to the magazine’s vendors.
When Bekki Perriman was sleeping rough in London in her teens, selling The Big Issue gave her life structure and was a way of making friends. With The Doorways Project, she looks back at this period of her life and examines what it is like to sleep rough. The exhibition started as a series of photos to document the doorways in which she slept or sold the street paper. It has now grown and people in cities across the UK have encountered recordings of homeless people telling their own stories in the doorways and alleyways of major cities.
Former actor-turned-filmmaker Rebecca Kenyon believes documentaries have the power to change attitudes and challenge our way of thinking. Her co-production company, mote of dust films, creates works showing different ways of life about people on the peripheries of society. Her most recent film ‘Something You Can Call Home’ rose from the reality of people living in their cars while aiming to hold down jobs in North Carolina. As an English-based filmmaker Rebecca shares what she’s learned of the similarities and contrasts around homelessness in the United States and the UK.
Volunteers for Denver Voice have been pounding the sidewalks for the US street paper’s first street recruitment drive to attract new vendors. The organisation already signs up vendors at a local day shelter, but the new outreach project helped them connect to more people from harder to reach groups. “Street recruitment gives us the opportunity to speak with individuals who may not use day shelter services,” says programme director Linette Hidalgo.
StreetWise’s Transitional Jobs Programme was a finalist at this year’s INSP Awards. Focusing on building up soft skills, such as communication, work ethic, professionalism and teamwork, the programme breaks down the barriers that keep many out of the workforce. Former vendor Don Smith explains how the street paper, and the programme, turned his life around.
Only a couple of months ago, Chloe Knott was on dialysis for up to 70 hours a week waiting for a liver transplant. Now recovering from her operation, after receiving a donated liver from her mum, she’s determined to help more people access transplants. Her crafty idea to draw attention to the cause is brand new social business Transplant Toys. They take toys and fix them up, using donated parts from other toys, then sell them on to make money for charity. In doing so, they’re making people thinking about organ donation.
After ten years at Megaphone, INSP chats to departing executive director, Sean Condon. Before heading off to support social enterprises in his new position at Vancity Community Foundation, he shares insights from a decade securing the growth of Vancouver’s successful street paper. And admits that he thought about rearranging his wedding when he found out that it clashed with the INSP Global Street Paper Summit in 2015.
As departing Megaphone executive director Sean Condon says goodbye to the street paper network, he tells INSP what he’s learned from the past ten years at the forefront of the Vancouver publication. He looks back on Megaphone’s journey from a few stapled photocopies to an award-winning publication and says he’s leaving the paper in safe hands. This is a behind-the-scenes must-read for all street paper fans.
A newlywed homeless couple made it onto the front page of Denmark’s most-read magazine – INSP’s very own Hus Forbi – this summer. Gilbert and Cappella, better known to their friends as ‘Teddy and Catfish,’ were married on a balmy June day in the Danish town of Vejle. This was no conventional wedding, with the groom riding a bike to the ceremony wearing his Hus Forbi vendor uniform and the couple uncertain about where they would spend their wedding night. With local media attention given to the couple, theirs was a real Danish homeless wedding with a difference.
Serbia’s only street paper has launched an international appeal for support, amid fears that the six-year-old social enterprise may face closure. Liceulice is facing a funding crisis, as several of their core supporters have left them “in the lurch”. Here, editor Milosav Marinović explains how the international community can help.
The 2016 Olympic Games have come to a close, with the gold medals all claimed for another four years. Away from the track and playing fields, an equally momentous occasion saw homeless representatives come together from six nations to perform in a festival of musical, theatrical and artistic events. “I think the festival is one of the best things to have happened to homeless people in Rio,” says choir member João Antonio Leandro. “I really believe the project can change the way Brazilians treat homeless people.”
With its tagline ‘We_Are_One.’ The One Festival of Homeless Arts is a two month curation of exhibitions and events exploring issues and problems around homelessness. Taking place in Central London until the end of September both founder, Dave Tovey, and the artists involved talk about the aims of the festival and the public reaction so far.
A guerrilla awareness-raising campaign from The Contributor placed vendors behind office desks at their regular pitches across Nashville. The stunt hit home the point that vendors are microbusiness owners and their own bosses, not panhandlers looking for charity. The street paper’s #BossNotBum campaign was an instant success, and even trended on Twitter in Nashville. INSP speaks to Executive Director Brady Banks and vendor Clint about the campaign.
During the Global Street Paper Summit in Athens, Nicholas Voulelis, veteran journalist and editor of Efimerida ton Syntakton (The Journalists’ Paper) spoke about his unique newspaper, which is run as a cooperative of over 100 journalists. Now one of Greece’s most popular dailies, Ef Syn rose from the ashes of respected left-wing paper Eleftherotypia (meaning “freedom of the press”). Voulelis said the paper’s success is down to its honest and reliable reporting and unique cooperative structure. He also said there are many similarities between Ef Syn and street papers.
It was a long hike for the Street Socceroos to reach this year’s Homeless World Cup in Glasgow, but they brought the Aussie team spirit with them. INSP caught up with the squad as they took in the HWC buzz. “It's fantastic meeting all the different teams and learning about different cultures,” said goalkeeper Shannon Knegt.
Stephanie Tweed was one of the stars of the home team at this year’s Homeless World Cup in Glasgow. It’s a massive step for the talented striker, who just last year was homeless and struggling with a heroin addiction. She says that the faith of the team at Street Soccer Scotland allowed her to rediscover her self-worth. She’s now living in supported housing and hoping to get her own flat soon.
Genom sin övertygande kritiska analys av EU:s budgetpolitik har den vältalige och kontroversielle Yanis Varoufakis blivit vänsterns hjälte. Under det tjugonde globala toppmötet för gatutidningar fick INSP en exklusiv intervju med den tidigare grekiske finansministern. I ett samtal som sträckte sig över många ämnen varnade han för att Brexit kommer att skynda på splittringen av EU och att vi kan vänta oss en ännu värre ekonomisk kris på grund av detta. I dagens klimat tycker han att gatutidningarna är en ”livlina”. Han berättade öppenhjärtigt om det amerikanska presidentvalet, behovet av ”olydiga regeringar”, sitt förhållande till Alexis Tsipras... och om sin kärlek till Rolling Stones. [ANMÄRKNING FÖR REDAKTÖRERNA: här lägger vi in hela texten med frågor och svar, så att varje gatutidning kan välja de avsnitt som är mest relevanta för dem, och redigera efter behov.]