Advertisement
Music

Sam Fender takes on homelessness this Christmas with ‘Winter Song’

Critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter Sam Fender met up with his local Big Issue vendor for a video chat ahead of the release of Winter Song

This festive season, chart-topping singer Sam Fender has joined forces with The Big Issue to focus minds on homelessness and help support vendors.

To raise awareness, Sam is releasing Winter Song, a powerful cover of the classic track by folk rock band Lindisfarne, which calls on people to “spare a thought” for those without a home.

The single was unveiled on Annie Mac’s Radio One show on November 24 and is the programme’s current “Hottest Record in the World”. It is available to buy now, and next week there will also be a special edition of The Big Issue available from Sam Fender’s online store. Proceeds from sales of the magazine will go to vendors.

“It’s close to home for me because I’ve got family members and friends [who’ve been homeless],” said Sam.

“I’ve known people who have gone through it. And I know how easy it is, through their stories, to go from being relatively okay to being on the streets. So, for me, it’s important to be involved for that reason.”

Ahead of the release, Sam met up with his local vendor for a video chat to find out more about how The Big Issue helps people – and the pressures that sellers are currently facing due to coronavirus restrictions.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Earl John Charlton sells the magazine outside Newcastle Central Station and describes himself as a “proud Big Issue vendor”. He told Sam how the magazine helped him turn his life around when he was sleeping rough.

“I started doing The Big Issue when I was still begging in London, I was still using drugs, but I slowly started seeing better in myself and what I can do,” Earl said.

“I’m coming up to five years clean now, mate. Who I am and what I’m about now is all due to my pathway of doing The Big Issue.”

Earl also described his frustration at being unable to work at the moment. Like more than 1000 other vendors in England and Scotland, he can’t sell the magazine due to the lockdown.

“I can’t get out and sell a magazine on the street,” explained Earl. “But there’s bigissue.com/vendors, and you can go on the map and allocate a vendor of your choice and support them by buying a subscription for three, six or 12 months. You can buy a gift for someone or maybe buy it for yourself, in paper or digital.”

Having bonded over their shared background in England’s north east, Sam said that he was looking forward to the day when he could buy a magazine from Earl in person and give him a hug.

In the meantime, Sam called on all his fans to support The Big Issue.

Subscribe to The Big Issue

From just £3 per week

Take a print or digital subscription to The Big Issue and provide a critical lifeline to our work.

“Obviously this Christmas is going to be different for everybody, it’s going to be tough for everyone. But most of all, it’s going to be tough for the people who don’t have a home,” said Sam.

“So if you could, jump on my website to buy The Big Issue with my daft face on it. The proceeds are going to go towards helping Big Issue in the future.

“I, for one, will definitely be sticking and helping Earl for a start. Because I think he is a legend. Let’s come together for Christmas.”

To read more from Sam and Earl’s emotional conversation, subscribe to The Big Issue in time to get the next week’s magazine, available from November 30. The limited edition cover featuring Sam himself will be available exclusively from samfender.com.

Advertisement

Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

Recommended for you

Read All
Blue Note Re:imagined II goes back in time to forge future paths
Music

Blue Note Re:imagined II goes back in time to forge future paths

Stone Club: The most literal rock tour you'll ever see
Music

Stone Club: The most literal rock tour you'll ever see

How opera is giving a powerful voice to migrants
Music

How opera is giving a powerful voice to migrants

Arcade Fire tour: ‘Just some humans doing our best'
Review

Arcade Fire tour: ‘Just some humans doing our best'

Most Popular

Read All
How much will the Queen's funeral cost?
1.

How much will the Queen's funeral cost?

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses
2.

The internet's best reactions as Kwasi Kwarteng cuts taxes and lifts the cap on bankers' bonuses

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet
3.

From benefit claimants to bankers: Here’s what the mini-budget means for your pay packet

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces
4.

5 ways anti-homeless architecture is used to exclude people from public spaces

To mark our new Arctic Monkeys exclusive interview, we’ve picked out some of our best band and musician interviews from the past, featuring Arctic Monkeys (2018), When Jarvis met Bowie, The Specials, Debbie Harry and more. Sign up to our mailing list to receive your free digital copy.