Written by Ian Kilbride, Chairman of The Spirit Organisation
The Big Issue magazine was given a huge boost recently by Prince William taking to the streets of London to sell the publication. This royal endorsement was rewarding for me personally and the Spirit Group more broadly, given our long and rewarding relationship with The Big Issue in South Africa.
My friend and Big Issue South Africa Managing Director, Derek Carelse, explains the ‘business model’ and ethos of Big Issue.
“Our applied philosophy is about giving vendors “a hand up, not a hand out”. By generating their own income – homeless, unemployed and socially marginalised adults are taking their lives and their futures into their own hands. The Big Issue has provided job creation and social support for thousands of adults who have earned over R24-million over 26 years.”
Expanding on the long-standing partnership between the Big Issue and The Spirit Group, Derek notes,
“Our partnership with Spirit and Warwick Wealth has deepened and strengthened over the past few years. What began as a commercial relationship of providing “on-street billboards” for Warwick Wealth in the form of branded Big Issue vendor bibs, hats, bags and masks across the Cape Town metros, has expanded to a deep social collaboration.”
Derek is particularly animated by the tangible benefits delivered to Big Issue beneficiaries,
“The major support we receive from Warwick and the Spirit Foundation over many years has allowed us to fix and upgrade township dwellings for our vendors and their families to occupy. Because of the overwhelming need and demand of this Spirit Foundation-funded service, we now have a waiting list for the next year.”
As Chairman of Warwick Wealth and Spirit, I could not be prouder of our relationship with the Big Issue and the real difference it makes to people’s lives who are simply striving for a better future. So, it was particularly rewarding to see Prince William endorsing the Big Issue on the streets of London last week.
Irrespective of royal endorsement, I together with Warwick and Spirit, commit to continue our support for and partnership with the Big Issue in South Africa and call on other donors, businesses and philanthropists to match this!