Vendor Spotlight: Fine Cell Work

Vendor Spotlight: Fine Cell Work

Fine Cell Work is a rehabilitation charity that works in 32 prisons across Britain. They enable prisoners to build fulfilling and crime-free lives by training them to do high-quality, skilled needlework to foster hope and discipline. Their aim is to allow them to finish their sentences with work skills, financial support, and the self-belief to not re-offend.

The idea for Fine Cell Work was originally conceived by Lady Anne Tree in the 1960’s when she was a prison visitor to HMP Holloway. She became aware of how much of prisoners’ time was completely wasted and that they might do a skilled job in their cell, get paid for it and have the money presented to them on release. Her idea that if the work was top quality there would be a market for it. She thought embroidery would be a useful skill as it was easily transported in a kit bag when the workers moved prison. Now engaging with over 500 prisoners each year, Fine Cell Work addresses key issues affecting prisoners’ offending behaviours: establishment and reinforcement of work skills, building relationships, and mental resilience.

Prisoners are taught by experienced volunteers and staff to work in their cells and in prison workshops. Having the opportunity to work independently helps them to regain control of their lives and allows them to maintain dignity. Prisoners gain a sense of connection to the world outside prison through the sale of their work. It also helps establish a work ethic and allows them to send money to their families or save for their release.

Fine Cell Work also guides them towards training and support on release. At the ‘Fine Works Hub’, a London-based workshop, they provide work experience, formal training, and employment. At the Clothworkers Studio, apprentices are able to complete textile qualifications; work with an employment mentor; gain employment support; and take up opportunities in product manufacture and design, as well as sales and stock management.

Proceeds will go to expanding into more prisons across the UK and rehabilitating prisoners, hopefully breaking the cycle of re-offending.

Street Art: Tangerine

Street Art: Giving Marginalised Individuals an Outlet for Creative Expression

Every week in The Big Issue, our Street Art page gives talented, marginalised individuals an outlet for creative expression, as well as a platform to sell their prints through The Big Issue Shop.

Tangerine is a mixed media artist, photographer and graphic designer born in Italy in 1979 and now living in Brighton. “Art has always been a very important part of my life,” she says, “I have been trying to create something new and personal, looking at the inner side of my personality, along with the experience of anxiety and social issues. I am really inspired by music and my artworks always try to express what music means to me.”

Be A Social Santa!

Be A Social Santa!

The countdown to Christmas has well and truly begun and what better way to make your money stretch further than to get a gift that also supports a great cause in the UK and beyond? To make it even easier, we’ve got ‘Gifts for Him‘, ‘Gifts for Her‘ and ‘Gifts for Kids‘ collections so you can get everybody covered.

We’ve also got limited edition wrapping paper which were designed by various top artists including Ben Eine and Sarah Pope. Other designs include ones by Street Artists Rene Robbins, John Sheehy, and even our own founder, John Bird!

If that’s not enough we’ve also got a collection of exclusive festive cards, featuring six of our best Christmas Big Issue magazine covers. These also include some very special covers designed by winners of our Kids Christmas Competition.

All profits go to help people living on the margins a hand up. So be a Social Santa this Christmas and get a gift that keeps on giving!

SHOP CARDS AND WRAP

Street Art: Carmel Woods

Street Art: Giving Marginalised Individuals an Outlet for Creative Expression

Every week in The Big Issue, our Street Art page gives talented, marginalised individuals an outlet for creative expression, as well as a platform to sell their prints through The Big Issue Shop.

Carmel Woods, who submits her work via London homeless charity the 240 Project, describes herself as “a lone wolf”. “My work comes straight out my head, it’s happy and sad,” she says. “At the end of the day, how you feel comes out on the paper, in the colours and the shapes. I get inspired by people at the project and value their comments, we are like a family they give you honest advice.”

Vendor Spotlight: Sweet Cavangh

Vendor Spotlight: Sweet Cavangh

The cost of inpatient care is staggering and the strain on the NHS means that many people do not get the help they desperately need. Patients leave treatment early, not because they are ready but rather, because facilities and services run out of funding. Sweet Cavanagh hopes to combat this issue by filling the gap in the services currently provided by the private and public sector.

Based in Notting Hill, Sweet Cavanagh jewellery is handmade in London by women recovering from eating disorders and addictions. Designing and creating each unique piece provides a therapeutic outlet for the women that is enhanced by more formal therapy groups, all of which is free of charge for those in need.

As part of their four-month program, women are able to have access to individual and group therapy, drama and movement therapy, and individual and group nutritional counseling with a registered dietician. They also run a “Work to Recover”, in which they partner with London based recruitment agency, Sidekicks, to offer monthly workshops on CV writing and interview coaching. Graduates from the recovery program also have the opportunity to be placed in internships with the aim to eventually getting full or part-time work placements.

Many of the jewellery pieces are one-offs, so they are perfect as a one-of-a-kind gift. To see the full collection, click here.

Black Friday Bargains With A Difference

Get A Gift That Keeps On Giving

Black Friday is here and whilst you could go battle a bunch of bargain hunters for a budget 50-inch telly in the aisles of the local supermarket, there is a better, easier way!

To mark the occasion, The Big Issue Shop is slashing prices with exclusive deals and massive discounts that will let you support great causes in the UK and across the globe all weekend long without feeling the pinch in your pockets. There are discounts on Fairtrade toys, street art prints, handmade jewellery and more. Great for stocking up on Christmas presents, birthday gifts or just a little treat for yourself. So get a gift that keeps on giving, all without leaving the house!

SHOP THE FULL COLLECTION

Street Art: Rene Robbins

 

Street Art: Giving Marginalised Individuals an Outlet for Creative Expression

Every week in The Big Issue, our Street Art page gives talented, marginalised individuals an outlet for creative expression, as well as a platform to sell their prints through The Big Issue Shop.

The daughter of an architect, Rene Robbins enjoys working with geometric shapes, line and collage. Following the death of her husband and son, she experienced a period of homelessness. At a low point one of her friends invited her to attend an art project and she has been returning ever since. “There’s always something new to see or learn,” says Rene. She works slowly and patiently due to a degenerative eye condition. Several of her works have been published and sold at exhibitions.

Vendor Spotlight: Cafedirect

Vendor Spotlight: Cafédirect

Born following the coffee crisis in 1989 when an international coffee agreement which had fixed global prices according to the cost of production, collapsed.  Middlemen swooped in to buy the coffee and the lives of millions of smallholder farmers around the world were in jeopardy as they were left with no choice, but to sell their harvests at rock bottom prices.

In response, three coffee growing communities from Peru, Costa Rica and Mexico each shipped a single container of coffee, loaned on trust, to the UK. The beans were roasted and sold through church halls, charity shops and at a range of local events where it grew into a demanded product. And thus Cafédirect was created.

Presently Cafédirect invests up to 50% of its profits into the Cafédirect Producers’ Foundation, a UK charity that is run by farmers, for farmers, taking leadership and developing innovative solutions to the challenges they face. This reciprocal, direct relationship enables them to provide great tasting, high quality and continually improving drinks. 

‘Great coffee is a combination of many things – the land, the customs we inherit, the climate and the market. Fair prices have transformed not only my community but our coffee too. Try it – I’m sure you’ll agree.’ Guillermo Aguilar, Coffee grower, COCLA, Peru.

Vendor Spotlight: The Soap Co.

Vendor Spotlight: The Soap Co.

Based in East London, and with a traditional workshop in the Lake District, The Soap Co. is a social enterprise creating and manufacturing soap products with sophisticated fragrances, minimalist design and a strong social and environmental ethos. Launched in September 2015, The Soap Co. is a part of CLARITY, the oldest surviving social enterprise in the UK, which provides employment opportunities for people who are blind or otherwise disabled or disadvantaged.

Street Art: ANXTI

Street Art: Giving Marginalised Individuals an Outlet for Creative Expression

Every week in The Big Issue, our Street Art page gives talented, marginalised individuals an outlet for creative expression, as well as a platform to sell their prints through The Big Issue Shop.

ANXTI is an artist from South London. He created this piece, especially for The Big Issue. “My work deals with my own issues with anxiety,” he explains. “It’s something I have suffered from my entire life. ANXTI is one of my coping mechanisms. The physical act of making my work, even thinking about it, is a great distraction from the stresses of everyday life. My hope for this project is to help, entertain and increase the awareness of male mental health issues like anxiety.”