GO! Southampton Supports Enterprising Southampton Pupils to Create Special Local Edition of The Big Issue Magazine

The Big Issue, Saints Foundation and GO! Southampton joined forces to produce a special edition of the magazine.

A celebration of the city and all it has to offer, the one-off edition of The Big Issue was conceived and created by a dozen local school pupils.

Working in collaboration with Saints Foundation and GO! Southampton, this special edition of The Big Issue featured a unique insight into the world of Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl as he was introduced to the joys of Southampton by the pupils.

During the week of Monday May 6th, the partnership saw the special Southampton edition distributed with the free edition of The Big Issue by vendors across Southampton and the surrounding area.

It was also distributed alongside the official matchday programme at the club’s last game of the season against Huddersfield on Sunday May 12th.  Copies were also distributed throughout all participating schools and to GO! Southampton’s 600+ member businesses.

The Big Issue, Saints Foundation and GO! Southampton partnered to produce the special edition of the magazine, holding editorial and creative workshops with 12 pupils aged (13-15) from six schools at St. Mary’s and also at Big Issue national editorial headquarters, in Glasgow.

The 12 young people were selected from Saints Foundation’s Community Champion schools programme that runs across the city. The Foundation’s Community Champions work full-time in six of Southampton’s secondary schools, helping those who struggle in mainstream education and getting them back on a path for success. They also offer unique experiences to pupils, helping them to raise their aspirations when they leave school.

Giles Semper, CEO at GO! Southampton, added: “We are grateful to Saints Foundation for bringing us together with the team at The Big Issue. We are firm believers in The Big Issue’s ‘A hand-up, not a handout’ philosophy. We look forward to consolidating our partnership with them over the coming years and bringing their vendors back to the heart of the city. We are thrilled that Southampton’s young people are getting the chance to do proper journalism with some of the best practitioners in the country. We are intensely committed to improving the skills of our young people so that Southampton can become the economic powerhouse it deserves to be.”

“We are thrilled to have worked with The Big Issue once again in this unique way in order to support marginalised young people, “ said Greg Baker, Head of Saints Foundation and Community Partnerships at Southampton Football Club. “The young people involved were selected on the basis that they had a creative spark that being involved in the project might help to develop further. We hope that they have enjoyed their experiences over the course of the last few months, and, especially given what they have been able to produce, perhaps a career in the creative industries might now beckon for some of them.”

Big Issue Editor, Paul McNamee, said: “I am delighted to have collaborated once again with the mighty Saints Foundation and this time with such an inspiring bunch of young people. There is such a positive force coming from Saints and also, I’ve discovered, from the rest of Southampton. They genuinely want to help people be the best that can be. We support that at The Big Issue. Also, if my regular team had editorial meetings buzzing with as many ideas as this young team have, I’d be over the moon!”

Big Issue MD, Russell Blackman, said: ”We are so pleased to have joined forces with Saints Foundation again. The Foundation does invaluable work supporting adults and young people across the community, tackling social exclusion and raising aspirations.  

“Every piece in the special edition of the magazine is penned by the young people from across schools in Southampton. Although the young people had the support of Saints Foundation and our award-winning editorial team, their ideas shone through and creativity took over.”

This is the second special edition that The Big Issue and Saints Foundation have collaborated on. As part of the original initiative, Big Issue vendors were provided with the opportunity to enroll in an eight-week employability programme, run by Saints Foundation, which equipped them with job-ready skills and offer work placements across the club. Three Big Issue vendors now work at St Mary’s stadium as a result of this employability programme.

The schools who took part in creating the special edition of the magazine were:

  • Woodlands Community College
  • St George Catholic College
  • Cantell School
  • Oasis Academy Mayfield
  • Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill
  • Redbridge School