HOMELESSNESS A BIG ISSUE

Written on the 10 March 2014

HOMELESSNESS A BIG ISSUE

Collins Biggers and Paisley partner Jon Meadmore joined Corrs Chambers Westgarth partner Daryl Clifford and Ashurst partner Gavin Scott selling the magazines around Brisbane.

BIG Issue Vendors had some help selling magazines from the Brisbane legal fraternity in early February as part of International Vendor Week.

The international initiative saw business and community leaders from 40 countries work together with vendors to assist them make more sales.

It was the legal firms getting behind the concept in Brisbane, with all five of the vendor assistants coming from city firms.

Rolf Moses, director of people and development at Norton Rose Fulbright, is on the advisory panel for the event and was assisting Ronnie Sullivan selling the magazine on Eagle Street.

“Most of the vendors are homeless of vulnerable people looking to better themselves and work through selling the big issue,” he says.

“They can make some sales and get out and interact, it is great for their self confidence and great social enterprise.”

Collins Biggers and Paisley partner Jon Meadmore joined Corrs Chambers Westgarth partner Daryl Clifford and Ashurst partner Gavin Scott selling the magazines around Brisbane, while Peter Schmidt, head of office at Norton Rose Fulbright also lent a hand.

The Big Issue is a magazine, current affairs and general information magazine which costs $6 and half that price goes to the vendor.

Moses says law firms have been strong supporters of the Big Issue.

“Many law firms have good corporate social responsibility programs, like Norton Rose Fulbright, as part of their engagement with the community. Where can make a difference with causes we try and assist. The Big Issue is fantastic because half the price goes to the vendor.”

“If you see a vendor selling the Big Issue go and say hello. They are at work when they are selling; they are great people and want to foster a loyal client base. The magazine is a great read and $3 of $6 of the price goes to the individual vendor, making a difference to a person who is trying to help themselves.”

The initiative is part of International Street Paper Vendor Week, held from February 3 to 9, which raises awareness of the 28,000 people who sell street papers in 41 countries each year.
In Australia, more than 500 people sell The Big Issue, including about 60 in Queensland.

The Big Issue CEO Steven Persson says nine million copies of the magazine had been sold since its launch in Australia in 1996, putting more than $18 million into the pockets of people experiencing homelessness, mental illness, disability and long-term unemployment.

“International Street Paper Vendor Week aims to breakdown stereotypes around homelessness and poverty and raise awareness of the men and women who are striving to better their lives by selling street papers,” Persson says.

“W’re excited to have some of Australia’s leading business and political figures put their support behind this campaign.”

The Big Issue is aiming to raise $100,000 in magazine sales during International Street Paper Vendor Week, which coincides with the publication’s 450th edition.

 

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