It’s been just over a week since I started here at the Big Issue Foundation and already I’m starting to feel at home! I couldn’t have hoped for a more welcoming atmosphere that stands in stark (and pleasantly surprising) contrast to some of the places I’ve interned before.
And what an eventful week it’s been! I’ve met with people from across the organisation, in distribution, fundraising and Big Issue Invest. To a man, everyone has been lovely.
But one in particular sticks in the mind. On my second day here, I was introduced to a former vendor now working as a cycle courier, an exuberant character called Dean. Dean had this energetic charm and we had a chat while Moira, one of the foundation’s full time fundraisers, helped him paying for his application for the Big Issue’s London to Paris cycle ride. (A good eleven months in advance, no less.)
That afternoon, I made my way across the river towards college – a benefit of working part-time – as I needed to sort out some paperwork for my accommodation next year. Sitting on the bus, I’m scrolling through Twitter and see my feed abuzz with the coverage of Ed Milliband getting egged whilst on a meet-and-greet walkabout. Stuttering as it is on my feeble 3G, I check out the video of the moment itself on my phone. But then, as the film crews pan across the perpetrator and back to a egg-splattered victim – ‘that’s weird. That looks a bizarrely like Dean.’ I think nothing of it, as the 3G gives us the ghost.
The downside of part-time is missing the moment the bad news breaks in the office. For, lo, it was Dean and the fundraising team now had a job on their hands to monitor and handle any media repercussions that might head the Big Issue’s way. The next morning of a brilliant window into the sometimes prickly practicalities of running a nationally recognised charity.
My excitement aside, it’s a real shame for Dean. A tireless supporter of the Big Issue, they’ll now need to be cautious over his involvement with them – any political leaning, or association with a political leaning, would go against the charity’s nonpartisan ethos. Hopefully his moment of immaturity and foolishness won’t cost Dean any more than that.
At the business end of affairs, the project is gaining pace. Having been tasked to embark of a study to evaluate the charity’s social impact in financial terms, I’m slowly getting to grips with the available data and the recommended accounting methodologies. I’ll go into more depth in a later post, provided this week remains uneventful! This Thursday I’m taking to the streets to help out with a Freshfields CSR event they run for their new graduate inductees. They’re partnered up with a vendor and sent out on to the streets to sell. I reliably told that usually the grads are on their best behaviour, not least as most of them think they’re being judged! I fear my inner sadist might be the better of me. Why not make them sweat a little now, when tomorrow they’ll be the ones charging me an arm and a leg by the hour?
It’s not very charitable I know, but hey, you only intern at the Big Issue once….
(And, my apologies for the egg pun. These posts sadly don’t write themselves.)