Our Achievements

Our achievements

From our beginnings on the steps of Flinders Street Station in Melbourne in 1996, we have grown to become Australia’s longest-standing and most significant social enterprise.

We have achieved this by giving people from all walks of life the chance to work, earn an income and reconnect with the community. We have no barriers to work or participation, providing everyone who comes through our doors with the opportunity to get involved. Here are just some of our achievements.

The Big Issue Magazine

  • More than 7000 vendors have sold the magazine since 1996
  • 13 million magazines have been sold, generating more than $31 million in income for vendors
  • Circulation of the magazine has increased from 7000 in 1996 to about 22,000 every fortnight
  • Research shows The Big Issue magazine generates a positive social return of $5.50 for every $1 invested in the enterprise, due to a reduced demand for social, health and justice services among sellers. 
  • An independent report estimated the magazine saved the community approximately $25,000 per vendor in the 2014-15 year

The Community Street Soccer Program

  • More than 10,000 people have participated in the Community Street Soccer Program since 2007
  • Independent research has found participation in the Community Street Soccer Program leads to many positive outcomes for participants, including improved physical and mental health and increased self-esteem
  • Every $1 invested in the Community Street Soccer Program generates a saving to the Australian community of $4.30 through a reduction in demand for social services including hospitals, welfare support, emergency services and correctional facilities, according to an independent study. Based on the program's operating costs, the study estimated that Street Soccer saved society $7 million per year.
  • We proudly hosted the Melbourne 2008 Homeless World Cup, bringing together more than 50 national teams for a week of competition

The Women's Subscription Enterprise

  • The Women’s Subscription Enterprise was established in Melbourne in 2010, initially providing employment to seven women
  • More than 160 women have since been employed in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth.
  • More than 1,500 Women's Subscription Enterprise shifts have been held and 650,000 magazines packed for distribution to subscribers

The Big Issue Classroom

  • More than 100,000 students have taken part in The Big Issue Classroom workshops since the program launched in 2009
  • The program has expanded to include workshops for primary students and an eClassroom, which school groups can access online
  • More than 4500 speaking opportunities have been provided for homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged people as guest speakers through The Big Issue Classroom
  • 35 guest speakers have been employed