I’m currently sitting in a café in Vauxhall, counting down the minutes until I start my placement at the Big Issue Foundation. The pre-first day nerves setting my mind to run wild, publishing my first post to the blog seemed like a welcome distraction…
I imagine most of you will recognize the Big Issue. Having thousands of vendors on streets across the UK each week have turned it into one of the country’s most trusted and recognizable social enterprise brands. What you might not know is that it’s actually split into three arms: the magazine, the foundation and the social investment vehicle. The magazine is the publication itself, the foundation is a charitable organization that actively works with vendors to help them achieve their personal goals and the investment vehicle, known as Big Issue Invest, seeks to support burgeoning social enterprise.
Arguably motivated by the Big Issue’s work, I’d always had a desire to help the homeless and vulnerably housed. No one living on the streets intended to find themselves there and, with only a few rolls of misfortune’s dice, any one of us could find ourselves in a similar situation.
When I heard about the Charity Insights programme, it struck me as a great opportunity to get actively involved in work with the homeless. Having done a little research, I made contact with a few relevant charities, and the Big Issue gave me the most positive response. Having looked over my CV and cover letter, they felt they had a suitably project for me, looking into the Social Return on Investment (SROI) of the Foundation’s activities. I’ll go into more detail in a future blog post, not least as I need to find out more about it for myself!
The clocks ticks ever closer to 10:30 and it’s nearly time for me to dive in. Here’s to hoping that all goes well and that by the time the next post comes around, I can fill you all in on the Big Issue’s SROI!