City's Big Sell Off proves more than a paper exercise

CELEBRITY vendors selling the Big Issue in Glasgow could be repeated across Britain next year.

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The Big Sell-off saw writers, broadcasters and politicians selling the magazine for one hour last Thursday and Friday in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

They managed to raise £20,000 in sponsorship - double the original target - via their JustGiving pages.

The Big Sell-off was the idea of The Big Issue and the International Network of Street Papers (INSP) as part of its annual International Street Paper Vendor Week.

At a special ceremony in Glasgow City Chambers, the guest vendors were thanked.

Maree Aldam, the general manager of INSP, said it had been a "fantastic" success that had boosted the profile of both organisations and raised funds for them as well.

She said: "We want to repeat it next year in Glasgow and Edinburgh, but we are also keen to stage it on a UK-wide basis.

"During Street Vendor Week there were lots of street papers worldwide that were raising their profile and trying to bring in new funds.

"The idea of using guest vendors is one that is catching on and is powerful, and it will also appeal to many other street magazines.

"It has been such a great way for us to enhance our profile.

"I very much hope that by this time next year we will be staging guest-vendor events not just up here but also in such cities as London and Birmingham."

Three of the guest vendors received special awards at the ceremony.

Gordon Sloan, chairman of Glasgow Housing Association, was singled out as the vendor who had raised the most money - £4788.

Scott Taylor, chief executive of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, won the title of Best Sales Pitch, which included what Maree described as a "wonderful rendition of Singin' In The Rain".

And the title of Best Guest Vendor went to Karen Cunningham, director of Aye Right! and Glasgow Libraries, who sold 50 copies in an hour.

Petra Wend, principal and vice-chancellor of Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, sold 46, and Scott Taylor 43.

Jim Mullan, the newly- appointed group chief executive of The Big Issue, said he had been busy familiarising himself with the varied working methods within the organisation.

He said: "The Big Sell-off has been the most salutary experience I have had in my time here so far."

russell.leadbetter@eveningtimes.co.uk

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