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Saints and Big Issue giving vulnerable adults brighter future

12 Aug 2017
Southampton and The Big Issue

Southampton and Big Issue join forces to give opportunities to vendors, with special magazine edition available at Saturday's season opener

For Big Issue vendor Mark Morgan, having the ability to earn his own money has helped him turn his life around.

"Since I started doing The Big Issue, it has got me my confidence back," says Mark. "I've got somewhere to live and I'm saving money I earn from it.

"I wouldn't have had that chance of getting a normal job, being homeless. I don't know where I'd be now if I hadn't started doing it."

And thanks to a unique partnership between Southampton and The Big Issue, launched this week, many more people will have the opportunity to get back on their feet.

A special Southampton edition of the magazine is now available to buy across the city and the surrounding areas and will be the official matchday programme for Saturday's Premier League season opener against Swansea City

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As part of the initiative, Big Issue vendors will also be provided with the opportunity to enrol in an eight-week employability programme, run by Saints Foundation, which will equip them with job-ready skills and offer work placements across the club.

When the course is completed, vendors will be able to apply for long-term appointments with Southampton FC.

To launch the partnership, Mark and fellow vendor Lee Barnes met first-team player Jack Stephens at the club's training ground while first-team players Nathan Redmond, Oriol Romeu, Manolo Gabbiadini and Florin Gardos visited Winchester to join local vendors in selling the magazine. You can see how they got on in the video above.

"It's been amazing to meet the players," said Lee. "What we've done has brought a lot of focus to the Big Issue and hopefully that focus will carry on throughout the partnership.

"I am excited to be selling at match day this Saturday and having met some of the players, it means even more to me now." 

See: Saints stars help sell Big Issue

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