City streets ahead to aid INSPiring People

HOMELESS people who sell street papers are being celebrated this week in a global event orchestrated from Glasgow.

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The first annual International Street Paper Vendor Week is to highlight the 14,000 homeless people around the world who are working to lift themselves out of poverty.

Glasgow MSP Humza Yousaf was learning first hand what it is like to sell a street paper by spending today with a Big Issue vendor in the city.

International Street Paper Vendor Week will celebrate vendors worldwide and challenge perceptions of poverty and homelessness.

It has been organised by the International Network Of Street Papers, a Glasgow-based charity that supports The Big Issue and more than 100 similar projects in 40 countries.

For many people who are homeless or living in poverty, selling a street paper such as The Big Issue can offer a financial lifeline and act as a stepping stone to support, housing and training.

More than 28,000 vendors each year –14,000 at any one time – work to lift themselves out of poverty by selling their local street paper in more than 600 towns and cities around the world.

Peter, 51, sells The Big Issue UK outside a Glasgow supermarket.

He said: "My pitch is a nice quiet part of the city and I get on very well with the staff at Morrisons.

"It makes your day a lot easier when people stop and talk to you."

Whether they are on the streets of Glasgow, Cape Town, Melbourne or Milan, every vendor is part of a global network working together to fight poverty and help people help themselves.

Worldwide, the International Network Of Street Papers (INSP) has already helped more than 250,000 homeless people change their lives.

Maree Aldam, Vendor Week co-ordinator, said: "Street papers around the world will celebrate their hard-working vendors and raise awareness of homelessness in their cities and countries using the theme INSPiring People.

"Events range from vendor parties and open days to Twitter competitions and photography exhibitions.

"Street paper readers around the world are encouraged to get involved, through sending messages on Twitter about their local vendor, using the hashtag #INSPiring people, and buying a copy of their local street paper."

stef.lach@ heraldandtimes.co.uk

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