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!


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.

The Soap Co Factory

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: