The Big Sleep Out - Metro feature 9.3.2011

So here's a feature I wrote that appeared in Metro last Wednesday on The Big Issue's 20th anniversary and their fundraiser The Big Sleep Out in May.

This is the first time I've managed to upload a PDF to blogger, so big shout out to the forums, that solved this problem which has been bugging me for years. (Now I've got five years worth of PDFs to upload, joy).

In summary here's a few bullet points about the story and Big Issue which might well entice you to read it properly, or even better sign up to do the Big Sleep Out.

* The Big Issue receives no public money, at all. That's despite working with OVER 3000 vendors and homeless people each year. Hence the need for fundraisers such as The Big Sleep Out

* Westminster Council is on the verge of banning homelessness in the borough. No really, actually ban homeless people from being in the borough. So instead of helping people, they're moving them on. (NB - I wonder if this has anything to do with LDN 2012?)

* The Big Issue provides support and services (medical, psychological, addiction treatment) to a multitude of people who aren't vendors.

* The Big Issue is 20 this year and is a social enterprise (it's a business that makes money for social good) founded in the midst of the recession of the early 1990s when homeless numbers soared through a rise in unemployment and repossessions. Which is exactly the perfect storm we're experiencing in 2011's 'economic downturn'