Big Issue Magazine finds a home on shelves at Manchester-based Co-op

The Big Issue, which is sold by some of the UK’s most vulnerable people to lift themselves out of poverty, is now available to buy in Co-op stores to support the Magazine and its vendors as selling on the streets stopped in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

Co-op stores have stepped in to put the award-winning magazine on its shelves to support The Big Issue and its vendors as people across the UK observe social distancing requests – the listing at the Co-op provides Big Issue with its widest in-store distribution across up to 2,600 outlets in towns, villages and cities across the UK.

Sales will also enable The Big Issue – which was founded 29 years ago and is a social enterprise which exists to dismantle poverty by creating opportunities, through self-help, social trading and business solutions – to continue its vital work with its vulnerable vendors now and, in the future.

The Big Issue took the decision to safeguard its network of vendors and its customers by asking that sellers stop selling on streets across the whole of the UK with immediate effect (on 20 March) and for the foreseeable future.


Russell Blackman, MD, The Big Issue, said: “Our income comes from street sales and without our vendors on the streets we cannot support those that really need us now and in the future.

“We are delighted with the support from the Co-op, which operates at the heart of communities across the UK. The money raised will help to secure the future of the Magazine and make a real difference to the lives of our vendors around the country.

“You can also buy a magazine online or subscribe for three months whilst your vendor isn’t selling on the street.”

Matt Hood, Commercial Director, Co-op, said: “Co-op has a key role to play in supporting our local communities; our Members, colleagues, customers and, the wider community – Inclusivity is at the heart of our culture, and this is an example of us all co-operating and pulling together to help those most in need during this unprecedented time – every copy sold will make a difference.”

Vendors come from a variety of backgrounds and face a range of issues, but all are experiencing the effects of poverty. Since its launch in 1991, over 200 million copies of The Big Issue magazine have been sold by over 100,000 vulnerable people.

The listing is the latest move in a series of innovations by The Big Issue Group to provide readers with alternative ways to purchase the magazine and help support vendors up and down the country in the face of adversity.

Copies of The Big Issue, and more information on the work of the Magazine, is also available at