To mark international Vendor Week (February 4-8), Jonny Tattersall swapped his cricket whites for a hi-vis jacket, selling copies of Big Issue North for an hour earlier this week.
Wicket-keeper batsman Tattersall was just one of the high-profile figures taking part in Big Issue North’s Big Sell, an annual event aiming to raise awareness of the challenges that regular sellers of the magazine face.
Big Issue North approached the club to give them and their 90 vendors a boost by doing an hour-long job swap. Tattersall experienced life as a vendor at Leeds Train Station on Wednesday February 6, at 1.30pm.
Watch our video of Jonny’s ‘Big Sell’ experience.
Anna Manetta-Stark, from Big Issue North, said: “Big Issue vendor week intends to celebrate the 9000 plus vendors selling street papers across the world. Here in Leeds we sell the Big Issue North and the Big Sell is all about getting high-profile figures or members of the public to come and sell the magazine and experience what life is like as one of the vendors.
“Jonny spent an hour, selling and trying to gain a bit of income as if he were on the streets. One of the most important things to get across is that the vendors buy these magazines to sell to you. This is their business; a social enterprise.
“Jonny has really been grafting today, asking everyone; ‘sir/madam, can I offer you a Big Issue’. I give him 10 out of 10 for effort, you can’t fault it. Going around the North-West, Yorkshire and the Humber this week, Jonny has really thrown himself into this.
“The two of them got on so well. It may be slightly different for a sports star, but they say you’re two pay cheques away from being homeless. So whilst they do seem worlds apart, the reality of what we’re highlighting today is that it could happen to anyone.”
Tattersall, who penned a three-year contract with his home county in December last year after a tumultuous start to his professional career, highlighted Steve’s enjoyment of the role of vendor as key to Big Issue North’s continued success story.
“It’s good that Steve has got his regulars who buy frequently,” said Tattersall. “I can tell you it’s very hard work even to catch people’s attention.
“For him, getting in the outdoors and selling is great and he seems to get on very well with everyone down here at the station. It must be great to have that wider family even though you’re doing something not many people would want to do. He enjoys doing it, which is the main thing. If you enjoy what you’re doing in life, and Steve tells me he does, then that’s the main thing in life.
“Getting people off the streets and giving them more of a purpose is very commendable. Steve says it has enabled him to get his own one bedroom flat, so that must be great to be able to do this and live in your own space as a result.
“Getting people’s attention was the most difficult thing. Some people just walk past, which was something I probably did in the past. But more generally speaking, it was a real eye-opener as to how it all works and how hard the vendors work to make an honest living.”
Each guest seller sold for one hour alongside a regular Big Issue North vendor, and all money raised from magazine sales went straight into the regular vendor’s pocket.
This is the fifth annual Big Sell, with previous participants including actor Maxine Peake, music legend Clint Boon, and politicians including Hilary Benn MP, David Blunkett and George Galloway.
Fay Selvan, Chief Executive of Big Issue North, said: “This year’s Big Sell promises to really cast a light on the challenges our vendors face. It’s great to see people from all sorts of fields give their time to support vendors, and experience the reality of selling on the streets in all weathers.
“I’m proud that we’re doing the Big Sell for the fifth year running, joining other street papers around the world in raising awareness of the challenges facing the people who sell such magazines and hopefully boosting their sales. And for those people doing the Big Sell with a competitive edge, may the best salesperson win!”
The Big Sell takes place during international #VendorWeek, an international event organised by INSP (International Network of Street Papers). During the week, people across the world show their support for street papers, often by giving up an hour of their day to sell their local magazine.
Maree Aldam, Chief Executive of INSP, said: “INSP #VendorWeek is an annual celebration of 9,000 vendors currently selling street papers around the world. Each one of these men and women – in 35 countries – is using their local street paper as a way to work themselves out of poverty.
“It’s especially important at this time of year, when you might be feeling the post-Christmas and New Year lull, to remember that vendors are still out there working hard in all weather.
“This year’s Big Issue North guest vendors will be joined by readers, business leaders, politicians and celebrities as far afield as the USA and Australia; who will all sell their local street papers to understand more about the challenges faced by vendors.”