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.”

The SEUK Awards, Vote For Your Favourite Enterprise!

The UK Social Enterprise Awards

The UK Social Enterprise Awards recognise businesses that give back, enrich communities and make a contribution to society, as well as those who lead them – the social entrepreneurs who use their business acumen to make a real difference, tackling social and environmental problems both in Britain and abroad.

With brands like Stand 4 Socks, From Babies With Love and The Soap Co. in the runnings for the award, it’s a tough but important choice to make! So, show your favourite social enterprise some love and vote using the poll in the link below, hurry though, poll finishes on 6th November:

Vote Here! 





Street Art: Kathleen

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.

Kathleen lives in Islington, London and paints at Studio Upstairs in Dalston, a studio for people with mental health difficulties. Previously she lived in hostels around London. “I really love oil painting and wish I could make a living out of it,” she says. “I paint autobiographical work, landscapes, portraits, feminist issues, political and social issues. Two years ago –on my birthday – I did a presentation at the Royal Academy of Arts for the Education Department. Several years ago I exhibited a painting in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern in an arts festival.”

Vendor Spotlight: Elephant Branded

Vendor Spotlight: Elephant Branded

Elephant Branded has a simple premise – buy one ethically made, recycled bag or related product and they give one ergonomically designed school bag and kit to a child in Africa or Asia. Founded by James, Mey and Pry, Elephant Branded pays a fair, competitive wage to local villagers who then make bags out of locally sourced, recycled materials. Not only do they get a reasonable wage but they also have the opportunity to learn valuable skills that permit them to have a sustainable, effective way to get out of poverty.

One of the founders, James, explained the beginnings of the company – “Mey’s family had previously made bags out of silk in Phnom Penh so she taught Pry how to do it, and then after experimenting with old cartons and bags, Pry came across an old cement bag lying on the floor and thought “You know what, we could make a bag out of that!”

The Lord Bird Art Collection

The Lord Bird Art Collection

The Big Issue marked its ’25+1 birthday’ with a special edition of the magazine – and an exclusive exhibition was held at The Framers Gallery, London, showing artwork by its founder, Lord John Bird. The founder’s artwork addresses themes of the human form and nature, with an ever-present undertone of the benefit of doing social good through social trading.

“It felt natural to mark our just over a quarter of a century celebrations with a special issue that nods towards the good that creativity can do in our world today.” explains Lord Bird. “Art in particular has meant so much to me over the years. It was a saviour in my troubled youth. I would go to drawing classes rather than hanging around with the lads I grew up with who were knee-deep in wrongdoing.”

These limited edition prints are now available here on The Big Issue Shop, with only ten of each size being produced and sold. Check out the full collection by clicking the link below:


Get Ready For Social Saturday!

Get Ready For Social Saturday!

Social enterprises are businesses that put people and planet first, by re-investing their profits to provide training, employment, education, clean water and much, much more.

Social Saturday is an annual campaign to raise awareness of the difference that social enterprises are making in communities, both on your doorstep and around the world. The day encourages you to support these businesses when making your purchasing decisions. Check out our dedicated collection and make sure your money goes further with shopping social!


Street Art: Christie Cassisa

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.

Christie Cassisa comes from an abusive childhood and as an adult has had problems with depression and homelessness. “The Big Issue and Centrepieces [a mental health arts project] have been the two biggest supports since then,” she says. “Both have given me the courage to keep on painting and to continue to understand the issues in my past as well as my present life. I feel optimistic about the future, as I get so much peace and joy from painting. The Big Issue and Centrepieces have also shown me that there is worth in what I do, and in who I am.”

Vendor Spotlight: Taylor + Rani

Taylor + Rani: The  Teen Social Underwear Enterprise

Taylor + Rani sell vibrant, colourful underwear for teenagers, to help support young girls in places like Zimbabwe, Malawi and Sierra Leone. These girls can often miss out on completing their education due to lack of access to toilets and sanitary provisions. Currently partnering with a charity that works to help girls stay in education longer, purchases of underwear provide equipment, additional clothing and financial support.

Specifically, for every pair of knickers purchased Taylor + Rani donate a pair of knickers and for every bra or other product such as a scrunchie bought, a monetary donation goes towards the building of separate girls toilets at schools. They also provide sanitary products for girls so that they do not have to halt their education upon hitting puberty.

Shout It Out Loud!

Shout It Out Loud!

The Big Issue believes in the power of people and thought-provoking protests. With that in mind, we have specially created a collection of t-shirts and mugs that are customisable with personal statements, unique to your cause. So even if you’re passionate about ending poverty or engaged in environmental issues – you can say it out loud with a Big Issue product.

Anytime you see “Customise Me” in store, you will be able to change some or all of the text within the design. Just look at the options available and type into text boxes to personalise your message. We print custom products on demand, and we will edit the design with your message intact before sending your package to your door. Every item purchased helps us to achieve our mission of dismantling poverty and creating opportunities for the disadvantaged.


Vendor Spotlight: Give Me Tap

Vendor Spotlight: Give Me Tap

GiveMeTap was founded by Edwin (a.k.a The Water Guy) after he experienced difficulties accessing tap water while out and about. As a result, he started GiveMeTap and created a reusable stainless steel bottle that he believes can change the world. Each GiveMeTap bottle purchased enables you to get free tap water from a network of cafes in the UK; reduces plastic bottle waste and funds 5 years of clean water for someone in Africa.

Give Me Tap

Plastic waste is a major issue. Only 20% of plastic bottles get recycled and over 50 billion plastic bottles go to waste every year. Yet, Britain has some of the cleanest water in the world. To help people gain easy access to this precious resource, GiveMeTap created the ‘Water Network’.  With the free GiveMeTap app, customers can find the different Tap locations near where they live. There are currently 800 cafes, bars and restaurants in The Water Network and they will refill the GiveMeTap water bottle for free.

Within 14 weeks of using a GiveMeTap bottle, the amount of carbon needed to produce one is equal to the carbon used to make 14 weeks worth of plastic cups. Meaning that after just 98 days, the bottle becomes more sustainable with every use.

Not only that but GiveMeTap also provides 5 years worth of drinking water for someone in Africa. How this is works is that for every bottle sold, GiveMeTap donates directly to their NGO partners in Africa to install pumps in rural communities. So far GiveMeTap has raised £114k to fund water pumps with an estimated 23,363 people with clean water for life!

Give Me Tap on The Big Issue Shop