The original plan was to buy The Big Issue off one of the many volunteers and vendors who sell it on the streets while I was living in Edinburgh. Having moved home the plan was to simply go to Belfast however it was something that kept slipping through the cracks and as recompense for this I decided to make a donation to the charity via their on-line website at www.bigissue.org.uk. You can also make a one off £10 Donation by text TBIF15 £10 to 70070 which if you have the means I would urge you all to do so.
The Big Issue offers homeless people the opportunity to earn their own money. The Big Issue Foundation, as an independent charity for people who are homeless, offers vendors the opportunity of a life. They work vigorously alongside vendors in order to help deal with the issues that have caused them to become homeless. It can take as little as 12 months from a significant life changing event to losing everything and ending up homeless on the street. Last year the charity worked with over 2500 individuals, enabling homeless people to take control of their lives once more. The Big Issue works with some of the most disadvantaged and socially excluded individuals in the country. People who have lost more than it is comfortable to imagine, their homes, their families and their sense of themselves in the world. It is all too easy to look upon such people as being victims of there on bad choices, of having nobody to blame but themselves. I am ashamed to admit that I have often adopted this frame of mind myself but the scary truth of the matter is that we all could easily find ourselves in such a crisis.
Reading up on the work that the charity does brought me to tears, the bleakness and desperation that homeless people face is staggering and it is not a choice but a lack of choices that have resulted in a life on the streets. However with a little help, guidance and support they are finding ways of turning things around. My donation will go a little towards things that can make all the difference in helping someone in crisis get back on their feet. Its not a hand out but a hand up.