View all newsletters
Have the short, sharp Spear's newsletter delivered to your inbox each week
  1. Wealth
September 21, 2012

Inspiration at the Big Issue's 21st birthday party

By Spear's

Joel’s journey from the streets to the Commonwealth Games lit up the room

Last night was the 21st birthday party for the Big Issue, a cause close to our hearts at Spear’s. (It’s one of the charities we’re supporting in the 1 Per Cent Campaign.) Held at the grand Nash terrace where the ICA lives, it was about as far from a night on a bench in St James’ Park – and as close – as can be.

There was one story in particular I wanted to recall, because it gives the lie to any impression one might have of the homogeneity of the homeless: middle-aged drunks, perhaps, who just can’t be productive members of society. I tweeted Joel’s story last night:

Content from our partners
How the Thuso Group’s invaluable experience and expertise shaped the Spear’s Schools Index 2024
AP Executive: Your Trusted Global Partner in Wealth Management Recruitment
A League of Their Own

And what did Joel fetch from behind the stage? His Olympic torch. I wasn’t the only one feeling tearful.

There were also speeches from vendors Andre, who now writes for the Big Issue, and Elliott, who described himself as a broken glowstick whom the Big Issue had helped to light up.

Joel had benefited from the Big Issue Foundation’s corporate partnership programme, which gives vendors the chance to sell their magazines (which they buy with their own money, importantly, making them micro-entrepreneurs) in the canteens of large companies, gaining skills and possibly training along the way, or – in Joel’s case – a job.

The party had a Monopoly theme, with giant glittering dice and locations on the board changed to represent places Big Issue vendors had slept: instead of Mayfair, the steps of St George’s on Hanover Square. There were Chance cards reflecting the bad luck or other circumstances which had led to homelessness, and Community Chest cards, which showed how people had made it out of homelessness.

The Monopoly theme was not just a London-centric conceit but was well chosen to illustrate the roll of the dice which can keep you under a roof – or send you out under newspapers.

Many of the people present last night were already supporters of the Big Issue – whether doing the London to Paris bike ride to raise money or as a trustee or a major donor – but the party was broader than a thank-you. It was also a prompt to evangelism: I don’t think anyone could fail to be inspired and want to tell the stories we heard. So I have.

Don’t miss out on the best of Spear’s articles – sign up to the Spear’s weekly newsletter

[related_companies]

Select and enter your email address The short, sharp email newsletter from Spear’s
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network