Today our CFO, Andy Penn will be selling the Big Issue magazine outside 242 Exhibition St, Melbourne between 12.30-1pm. He will join more than 70 senior executives and politicians from around Australia as each guest seller teams up with a Big Issue vendor for half an hour of selling, with all proceeds going to vendors.

Andy took a few moments to reflect on his involvement with the Big Issue, and why supporting this initiative is so important.

Andy before stepping out to sell The Big IssueToday I will be selling The Big Issue magazine outside the front of our Melbourne headquarters on Exhibition St at lunchtime. I am doing this to take part in a global initiative to support International Street Vendor week.

As I am sure many of you know, The Big Issue is a social enterprise that provides effective employment to thousands of disadvantaged members of our community; 50% of the sale price of every edition goes to the vendor with the balance covering production costs.

While the enterprise provides employment and a small income for people who are not as lucky as us, this is only part of the story. The Big Issue also gives vendors the opportunity to interact with and be a part of our community.

One of the things I have learned over the years through my involvement with The Big Issue and other organisations such as the Salvation Army is that when people in our community fall into disadvantage they also fall into isolation. It is crucial therefore that we find ways not only to support them financially but also to find ways to keep them connected.

As my old friend Neil the shoe shine man (who sadly passed away a couple of years ago) used to say to me, “It’s about giving people a hand up, not a hand out.”

So next time you see a Big Issue vendor, even if you don’t need a copy of the magazine, don’t give them a wide birth or avoid eye contact, head up to them and say ‘hi!’ Ask them how business is going, whether their site is a good one, talk about the weather, anything – just connect – it’s what Telstra is about.

Show them we care!


About International Street Paper Vendor Week

International Street Paper Vendor Week in an annual event run by the International Network of Street Papers (INSP) – an organisation that supports 122 papers around the world. The second annual event will be held from February 3-9 to shine the spotlight on the 28,000 people who sell street papers in more than 40 countries around the world each year, helping to breakdown stereotypes around poverty and homelessness.

Andy will be positioned outside 242 Exhibition St between 12.30-1pm selling as many copies of The Big Issue as possible.