The first new initiative, Big Issue Recruit, will launch in the Autumn. Aimed at those who face barriers to employment, it will be a person-centred recruitment service that will support marginalised people to find sustainable employment through skills, training and development. And once in roles continue to support them. The scheme will be supported by Jack Parsons and Sherrie Silver.
The survey confirmed there is significant public support for this, as when asked what the best way to support marginalised people back into jobs was, 38% of adults said it was through providing training programmes to develop specific skills and 25% of people surveyed said organisations such as BIG should be prioritising creating skills and training programmes to get more people into work.
According to the research, 31% of young people aged between 18-24 years old said they believe there are fewer opportunities for young people to access jobs compared to 30 years ago.
Jack Parsons, CEO of The Youth Group, said: “We have to do more to help young people through such tough times and support them to feel like they can ‘win’ at work, in their communities and in society. When I was asked to become an Ambassador of Big Issue Group and the mission they are embarking on to help more into work, I knew I had to get involved and support. It’s going to be an amazing period of impact and everyone can play their part to support the new vision over the next five years.”
Sherrie Silver, Choreographer, creative entrepreneur, community-building activist and UN Advocate for Rural Youth: “I have chosen to support Big Issue because it provides people with it’s the skills and training they need to work their way out of poverty. As someone who works with underprivileged and homeless people around Africa through my charity, Children of Destiny, I know that the best way to help someone living in poverty is by giving them a means to help themselves, in order to avoid dependency, because as we know, helpers come and go. It is an honour to be able to support such an amazing brand that changes lives for good.”
Lord John Bird, Founder of The Big Issue, said: “This is an important and exciting next step for Big Issue Group. When I set up the magazine, my aim was to slit the throat of poverty, but this can only be done if we are focusing on, Innovation, Investment and Prevention, rather than always having to deal in emergencies. This new strategy and focus will not only help us support even more people, but it will also enable us to change lives.”
Jon Gregg, Vendor for Big Issue Group, said: “Everything they say about working with Big Issue Group is true. Selling the magazine helps give you your self-esteem, your confidence and your life back. The tabard is a uniform, when you put it on it really makes you feel like you can take on the whole world.”
Steve Clarke, Big Issue Invest investee, and co-owner and founder of Café Van Gogh in Brixton, said: “As a social enterprise it was incredibly hard to secure investment, but Big Issue Invest gave me the funding which enabled me to make my dream a reality. We put ethical decisions and community at the heart of what we do, not profit. We run a programme of on-the-job training and offer employment opportunities to people with additional challenges in life, such as a learning disability or a mental health problem to provide them with the support and confidence to thrive.”
Paul Cheal, Big Issue Group CEO, said: “Our new Big Issue Group five-year strategy brings all our work together – from vendor support to parliamentary campaigns, to social investment and our campaigning journalism. This is an exciting next step for Big Issue Group, which will enable us to support even more people than ever before.”
To join us and be part of the solution to change lives, visit: https://www.bigissue.com/changing-lives-through-enterprise