Sheffield Big Issue vendor fears for licence over self-printed 'lockdown edition' of street newspaper

A Sheffield Big Issue seller fears he may lose his licence for selling a magazine he created to support himself while the country is in lockdown.

Thursday, 14th May 2020, 3:49 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th May 2020, 4:31 pm

The seller, who has asked to remain nameless, created the ‘Big Issue Lockdown’ himself using articles sourced from the internet and his own content.

However, as Big Issue sellers are only allowed to sell the magazine itself from designated pitches, he fears the council could take away his licence if he is discovered.

He is currently selling his new publication at a secret city location, and says the magazine has helped him keep a little bit of money coming in during the coronavirus crisis.

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The Big Issue stopped its street selling operations in March when the UK went into lockdown, with the magazine only available in shops and online.

This left sellers with no income at a time when other forms of support like the city’s homeless services were forced to scale back their services.

One of the man’s regular customers, Jane Linklater, said she had been ‘really impressed’ by his resourcefulness and ability to create something positive during the lockdown.

She said: “I have got to know him quite well and have heard about his efforts to get a job, get his own place and the difficulties of making any positive change despite huge effort. He is homeless due to a relationship break up and is sofa surfing at a friend’s.

A copy of the Big Issue Lockdown on sale in Sheffield.

“He disappeared for a couple of weeks and his regular customers were all worried about him but we were very relieved to see him at the beginning of last week, back at his pitch and with his own magazine. What an achievement!

“The content while it needs editing is good but would be better if it had more of a personal touch and something about him. He has managed to get it bound and printed and he is selling it for £2. Given his hard work he really deserves a break.”

The Big Issue can still be bought in shops with money from sales going to services that support rough sleepers.