"As soon as you become NFA (No Fixed Abode), you become invisible" - Big Issue Vendor.
Homelessness is one of most significant social problems in the today. Homelessness as an issue is often ignored. Similarly, homeless and vulnerably housed people are often ignored and marginalised in society and there are insufficient support networks to get people who fall victim to homelessness back on their feet. There are at any one time, around 2000 registered Big Issue Vendors in the UK. The Big Issue Foundation (TBIF) is the charitable arm of The Big Issue, the social enterprise which produces and sells the Big Issue magazine. TBIF provides an essential support structure to homeless and vulnerably housed people; people whose social support structures have often failed them. It helps vendors gain access a range of services, including help with drug and alcohol dependency, soup kitchens, access to housing, money planning and help searching for full time paid work.
During the 4 months I spent as a volunteer with TBIF in 2012, I participated in and saw the incredible, life-changing work that TBIF does for Big Issue vendors around the UK. Whether through everyday acts such as providing food, warm clothes, or seeing vendors gain access to drug and alcohol dependency help or, in one example I will never forget, seeing the joy in the expression of a vendor called 'Bean' tell us he was leaving The Big Issue to move on to full time work in psychiatric support for homeless people, The Big Issue foundation provides vital help to the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. The money I raise from running the London Marathon 2015 will go towards making sure TBIF can continue to provide this invaluable help to Big Issue vendors.
You can read more about The Big Issue Foundation at: