Big Issue North sellers have been forced off the streets of Manchester due to a second UK lockdown.
The vendors of the magazine will no longer be able to sell in-person, leaving them vulnerable and unable to earn an income.
The Big Issue North provided funding and support to vendors throughout the first lockdown as they are not eligible for the governments furlough scheme. It also has plans to continue to support its vendors over the latest period of national restrictions.
Fundraising and communication officer Brontë Schiltz said: “Big Issue North vendors are not permitted to work for the duration of England’s national lockdown. This leaves them in a dire predicament.”
“The 350 people who sell Big Issue North are self-employed, buying magazines from our offices for £1.50 before selling them on the streets of the north for £3. As they cannot work from home, homeless and vulnerably housed people across the North now find themselves without a source of desperately needed income.”
“The lead-up to Christmas is usually vendors’ most lucrative time of year, with calendars to sell, more people out and about doing their Christmas shopping and the festive spirit breeding feelings of generosity.”
This year, without any way to work and with winter drawing in, it is set to be their most difficult.
Brontë said: “As such, the news of the second lockdown was met with anxiety and distress from many of our vendors.”
“During the first lockdown, we paid out £500 each day to support vendors’ cost of living.
“This time, we expect to pay out even more, as we experienced an influx of new vendors when the first lockdown was lifted, and the bitter cold will lead to an increased need for help with bills.
“Our frontline staff will also be on hand remotely to provide practical support, such as referrals to food banks and other support services, and updates on the latest government advice for vendors who do not have access to the internet or a television, or who do not speak fluent English.”
Currently in the North West there are 9,038 who are homeless or live in temporary accommodation according to shelter statistics. With the evection ban not being reinstated for the second lockdown, this number is predicted to rise.
Brontë added: “The past seven and a half months have been an incredibly challenging time for Big Issue North.
“We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has assisted us – however they have chosen to do so.”