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The Big Issue launches new app to support vendors with the help of Pugpig

The Big Issue has launched a new app and digital edition today, using Pugpig Publish, to maximise sales and support vendors across the UK in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Big Issue Foundation is a social enterprise that aims to lift people out of poverty by providing a paid-for magazine product for vendors to sell. Much like their previous print magazine distribution network, their new digital magazines will attribute 50% of net proceeds to directly support Big Issue vendors at this critical time. However, a new benefit is the ability to sell quarterly subscriptions priced at £32.99. The app is free to download in the App Store or Google Play Store with single issues priced at £2.99.

The Big Issue team approached Pugpig as a technology partner in March and we were delighted to offer our support on a pro-bono basis to such a worthy cause. Within a few short weeks, the Big Issue print production process was easily supplemented with a digital production workflow for their weekly magazine. Start to finish, both organisations were able to work closely together to provide Big Issue readers and vendors with a high quality digital edition to their award-winning entertainment and current affairs magazine.

The UK’s national PE teacher, Joe Wicks, is the cover star of the first edition of the magazine to go live on the app and has given the magazine an exclusive interview.

Joe Wicks said: “Since the Coronavirus crisis hit the UK, Big Issue vendors haven’t been able to sell on the streets. We need to ensure that, once this is all over, it’s still here to support vendors to earn a legitimate income and lift themselves out of poverty. 

“One of the ways you can support right now is by downloading the new Big Issue app. I can’t urge you all enough to keep this awesome organisation alive by downloading it for free today and buying my digital edition for just £2.99 or subscribing for regular editions.”

Russell Blackman, MD, at The Big Issue, said: “Our income largely comes from street sales and without our vendors on the streets we are losing our ability to directly provide them with a source on income. They desperately need need our help and we have continued to adapt to the situation, by launching our new app.

“We are so pleased that we were able to work with the amazing team at Pugpig on the app so that new and existing readers are able to keep reading and supporting The Big Issue throughout this incredibly tough time. The money raised will help to secure the future of the Magazine and make a real difference to the lives of our vendors around the country.”

Jonny Kaldor, CEO of Pugpig, said: “We were thrilled that The Big Issue asked us to help launch their digital edition and support such an important social enterprise. The app gives readers a way to pay for the magazine and help vendors at a time when being stuck at home would have otherwise made it almost impossible. I really hope this is just the beginning of what will become a valuable service for The Big Issue, both in the short term and for the future.”

Paul McNamee, Editor of The Big Issue, said: “We may not be on the streets for now but we are fighting on every front to allow readers the means by which to keep supporting The Big Issue and our vendors. Don’t hesitate, download the app today! 

“We want to be here for our vendors when this is all over. Please help us to make this a reality.”

The Big Issue app is available to download on iOS and Android.