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The Big Issue Foundation’s head of partnerships and philanthropy, Serena Crisp, implores the City’s suits to show solidarity with the Square Mile’s homeless community.

We’re asking City boys and girls to don the iconic red jacket and become a Big Issue vendor for the day, selling magazines alongside our inspirational vendors in the heart of London’s financial district, and experiencing the harsh reality between wealth and poverty.

Spending a day on the streets working alongside our vendors is an incredibly insightful experience.

You will discover what it is like to sell the magazine and see first hand some of the challenges they face on a daily basis – learning about their resilience and sales strategies.

Big Issue vendors are tenacious; setting up their micro-enterprises in the midst of real adversity. So as well as raising awareness of the issues surrounding homelessness and poverty, the experience is equally inspiring and humbling.

Set up as a ‘The Apprentice’-style challenge, the Big Challenge is a great initiative for motivational team building while honing customer engagement and creative sales techniques, sitting well within the learning and development space.

It also meets social and financial inclusion objectives, and vendors appreciate the camaraderie as well as the extra sales made during the day.

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Law firms Freshfields, Simmons & Simmons and Gowling WLG have all endorsed the experience by implementing it as a key aspect of their trainee lawyer induction programme, resulting in over 120 trainee lawyers taking part each year.

Our feedback to date highlights that the experience has made a considerable impact to the lives of those who have participated, making them more likely to engage with a Big Issue vendor or an excluded or homeless person in the future; leading to societal change.

From the vendor’s perspective, they tangibly feel the sense of solidarity and friendship from the day.

As we deliver the experience we can be flexible with the format and have worked with a range of organisations to tailor the day to their requirements.

We can incorporate up to 25 people, and days include a full brief and debrief, and approximately three hours selling on the streets in pairs, matched with a Big Issue vendor.

As well as the Big Challenge we also have our flagship fundraising events the Big Sleep Out and Big Night Walk; in solidarity with those that are homeless. We would love businesses in the City to join us by taking part in these fantastic social action events. We offer attractive sponsorship packages and encourage teams from businesses to participate. The Big Sleep Out is on 15 November 2019 while the Big Night Walk is in March 2020 (date to be confirmed).

For more information contact Serena Crisp on 020 7526 3452 or serena.crisp@bigissue.com.

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