23 December 2014

Spare Change News Files Brief in Supreme Court Case

Massachusetts street paper Spare Change News has joined the fight against a law that could see selling street papers made illegal in some areas of Worcester city, USA.

Though the ordinance explicitly prohibits “aggressive begging, soliciting and panhandling in public places,” it is so broadly worded that it could see vendors banned from selling street papers in many areas of the city.

Areas covered include anywhere that is within 20 feet of a bank of cash machine, public toilet, theatre, bus stop, outdoor cafe seating or even near a pay phone.

It also bans selling after dark - from half an hour before sunset to half an hour after sunrise. Which would obviously be extremely problematic in winter.

Spare Change News is working with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to attempt to have the ordinance declared unconstitutional.

For the full story, see the story on the Spare Change News website.

19 December 2014

Our vendors: Beiene Berhane - Surprise, Switzerland

“It was only after coming here that I learnt the true meaning of neighbourly love,” says Beiene Berhane, who, at 75 years old, is the oldest of the Surprise street paper vendors in Zurich, Switzerland.

Beiene is also the first African to sell Surprise. A political refugee from Eritrea, he ended up homeless after fleeing his country but has found a new purpose, and family, selling street papers.

Beiene Berhane sells Surprise in Zurich.
“I come from Eritrea, and only poor people work on the streets there so it is not seen as a good thing,” he explains.

“But then I saw how hard the Swiss work, in whatever job they have, and that motivated me. Today I am very proud that I can sell Surprise.”

Even though his German is limited, Beiene has been able to form relationships with his regular customers, including one woman who has bought Surprise from him for the last ten years.

“I always try and chat to people, although I only speak a little German," says the vendor.

"Somehow, you always understand each other, even if sometimes you have to speak with your hands. A lot of people here also speak Italian. Eritrea was an Italian colony, so I can speak the language.

“In the evening when I have finished selling, I enjoy watching RSI, a Swiss TV channel in Italian. This means I can learn more about where I now live.”

Born in 1939,  Beiene experienced many political upheavals while living in Eritrea, including a 30-year war with neighbouring country Ethiopia.

“I cannot speak about the precise circumstances of my escape from Eritrea; I have painful memories of it,” he says.

“I have hardly any contact with my family any more. I am the second youngest of ten children; many of my siblings are dead. I have six children myself, but I only speak to one son now and then.”

But for Beiene, his new Swiss friends have become his second family.

“They celebrate my birthday with me, look after me when I am unwell, and when I had nowhere to live they took me in,” he says with a smile.

“The Swiss are so friendly. I am often given a coffee or a sandwich - by someone I don't know! That would never happen at home.

“Nevertheless, home is like your mother, you can never forget her. I hope that the situation in Eritrea will calm down and that the people there will take Switzerland as an example.”

Did you know INSP works with over 120 street papers around the world? You can help celebrate thousands of vendors, like Beiene, by signing up to our Thunderclap social media campaign during #VendorWeek 2015.

Thousands of Scots buy Christmas dinners for the homeless

By Laura Smith

An appeal to buy Christmas dinner for homeless people in Scotland has raised enough money to feed them for an entire year.

Social Bite, an independent chain of sandwich shops, launched a £5 deal through itison.com on Tuesday, 16 December which allows people to buy Christmas dinner for homeless people in Edinburgh and Glasgow, in return for a free hot drink in January.

The social enterprise, which also employs formerly homeless people, originally aimed to serve 400 dinners at one of its Glasgow shops on 24 December and another 400 meals in Edinburgh on Christmas Day.

But their festive campaign has been overwhelmed with support and, to date, over 26,000 donations have been made - raising close to £130,000.

Co-founder Josh Littlejohn, 29, said the whole team are stunned by the response their Christmas dinner drive has received. He adds that they smashed their original target of 800 meals within two hours of the deal going live.

“It’s amazing; this incredible Christmas spirit has blown us all away," said Josh.

"We give away free food to the homeless throughout the year and employ people from homeless backgrounds, so we're quite ingrained in that community. We quickly realised there was going to be a fair number of people without anywhere to go on Christmas Day."

The surplus donations will be funnelled into Social Bite's suspended meal scheme, which allows customers to buy a hot meal and drink for homeless people to collect from their local shop, all year round.

With over 26,200 meals now pre-paid for by the public, Social Bite can now comfortably run their suspended meal scheme throughout 2015.

Good will and good food for good causes

Since launching in Edinburgh two years ago, the socially conscious sandwich and coffee chain has established four shops across the Scottish capital and in Glasgow.

In the process, it quickly captured both the appetites and hearts of locals. So much so that the recent outpouring of goodwill and support has extended far beyond Christmas dinners.

“So many people have got in touch asking if they can volunteer on Christmas Day," added Josh.

"Loads of people have said they're not going to buy Christmas cards this year or get a Christmas tree, and will donate the money to this instead."

Social Bite customers and supporters have also offered to drop in Christmas presents for the homeless people visiting the shops over the festive period, and have been sending cash donations in Christmas cards.

Social Bite also donates 100 per cent of its profits to charity and much of its workforce - currently 14 people - has experienced homelessness.

“For me that's the coolest thing about our suspended food and coffee scheme," added Josh.

"We employ about 14 people from homeless backgrounds and we met a fair few of them because they came in for free food, so the free food is really the first step on that journey.

"We get to know them and further down the line we try to offer some of them a part time job, and later full time job. We're trying to break the cycle of homelessness rather than just give out free meals."

Brian Rogers, who is formerly homeless and works in one of Social Bite's Glasgow shops, will help to serve around 400 dinners on Christmas Eve.

"This is a very special opportunity for the homeless in Scotland," he said.

"This could be the only meal they get so it's amazing that Social Bite has put their hands out to help. This will make the homeless feel welcome, fed and more hopeful for the future."

Brian started working as a kitchen porter at Social Bite earlier this year, ending a four-year streak of unemployment, alcohol addiction, prison time and periods of homelessness.

"It's an amazing opportunity. I never thought I’d get a job and have money," he added.

"I go to AA meetings every week now and am looking forward to building a new life for myself, thanks to Social Bite.

"The suspended meal scheme is brilliant. I wish there'd been something like this when I was homeless."

18 December 2014

Revolutionise: 15 tips for 2015

By Zoe Greenfield

Earlier this month, I attended the Revolutionise Annual Lectures in London. The second event of its kind, it saw 18 speakers share their philanthropy and leadership insight and expertise. The Revolutionise team compiled a Storify of delegate tweets which captures many of the themes and conversations from the day. I’ve gathered some personal reflections in my 15 for 2015 list:

1.    Be ambitious

B.H.A.G it! What is your ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goal’? Whatever your mission (to help more children, save more lives, find a cure faster), be ambitious! 

"A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines." - Collins and Porras

2.    Challenge yourself

3.    Never miss an opportunity

Be ahead. Be bold. Be positive. Be innovative.

4.    Science is cool

In his keynote address, Phil Barden of Decode Marketing explained how we can take the principles of science and leverage them in our communications. Science can help us to understand decision-making and what drives us, as shown in the Decode Goal Model (pictured).

Interested in finding out more?  To receive regular updates on behavioural economics, psychology and neuroscience and their implications for marketing and communications, sign up to Decode Marketing’s Science Update.

Some light reading for the Christmas holidays:
-    Decoded: The Science Behind What We Buy by Phil Barden
-    Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
-    Lots of talk about the Chimp! I’ll be trying to tame mine by reading The Chimp Paradox by Prof. Steve Peters

5.    Tangibility

Did you know that autopilot is the preferred state of the brain? And, autopilot responds to rewards that are tangible. So if the brain responds to tangible reward, how tangible is your cause?

A recent high-impact example of tangible cause-fundraising in the UK is The Tower of London Remembers [pictured left]. This week, Social Bite (an Edinburgh and Glasgow based social business) is running a simple but highly effective campaign: £5 buys Christmas dinner for a person who is homeless. 22,000 bought and counting…

6.    Why?

As organisations, our ‘Why?’ is our mission. But donors have a ‘Why?’ too. We need to give people an opportunity to connect their values with action. This is the point where the two ‘Whys?’ meet.

7.    Tie money to the mission

We need to be better at linking our fundraising to the cause.

8.    Don’t apologise

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society spoke passionately about fundraising’s core role within any organisation but called for a change in attitude (both internally and externally). Why is it hidden down a list? Or not even mentioned at all! Why aren't we telling people how much we need to raise instead of being apologetic about it? Without the money we couldn't do anything!

9.    Tackling some of the myths

People are right to be suspicious and to ask questions. We should want donors who are engaged enough to ask us challenging questions!

I recently started reading The Great Charity Scandal and was filled with rage. Not at the accusations made against charities but the potential damage such an attack will have on public perception of charity and consequently the amount of money people give to good causes.

Case in point: overheads. Hughes suggests that it is disingenuous to say ‘100% goes to the cause’. We should be worried about such claims; it is simply not possible to run an organisation with zero overheads.

10.    Giving: more than money

Tony Elischer declared the traditional and somewhat narrow view of giving redundant. The idea that the only ways to give are time, money and goods needs to be expanded to include voice, influence and lifestyle change.
We also need to consider reciprocity in giving, said Ken Burnett. As organisations we need to give the right things to our donors (customer services, stories) to make them want to continue their support and more importantly, spread the word.

11.    Make noise

12.    Be disruptive

It is hard to get noticed! You have to be different to grab attention, said Richard Taylor of CRUK who highlighted a shock campaign by the Pillion Trust #FuckthePoor (watch the video here) to show the lengths to which some organisations have gone to get noticed. In a similar way, we must embrace new and innovative ways of fundraising such as crowdfunding and digital.

13.    It’s OK to be angry.

Iain MacAndrew of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust talked about bringing the anger back into the organization through their 50th Anniversary ‘No Party’ campaign. After all, why should they celebrate their 50th anniversary when so many of their client group die long before that?

14.    Profit with purpose

There is a constant rumbling about the need for charities to be, or act, more corporate. But, if that were true, why are companies trying to be more like us? Business should serve society too: “Winning alone is not enough, it's about winning with purpose.” Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever.

Jacob Rolin asked why we as a sector define ourselves as something we are not and advocates a more positive definition: “Be prepared to lead the change... deliver a purpose.”

A phrase which came up many times throughout the day: profit-with-purpose. Charities shouldn’t shy away from talking in terms of profit (money left over after your expenditure) because it is this money which allows us to make change.  

15.    Be social

Times change. We need to embrace all things digital. Happy (digital) Christmas! Click here to watch a short video.

**All of the ideas, images and links came from the #AnnualLectures. I have tried to give credit where possible but after a 4am start and 15 pages of notes, my mind was abuzz and this was the most sense I could make of my notes after a day of frantic note-taking and talks jam-packed with ideas and insight. Thank you to all of the speakers! See you in 2015!**

17 December 2014

Happy 5th anniversary to Philadelphia street paper One Step Away

By Laura Smith

A street paper produced by homeless people and sold on the streets of Philadelphia has marked its five year anniversary by celebrating the real stars of the show: its vendors.

Since launching on 15 December 2009, roughly 650,000 copies of One Step Away have been sold by more than 1,700 homeless and unemployed people across the city.

Around 85 percent of One Step Away's vendors rely on the paper for employment. They sell the publication for $1, keep 75 cents of each paper for themselves, and give 25 cents back to the paper to help cover printing costs for the next edition.

One Step Away vendor Jarred.
To celebrate its five-year milestone, One Step Away ran a special edition which took a trip down memory lane to reflect on some of the paper's highlights in the years since its inception.

The editorial team also spoke to several One Step Away vendors to find out what selling the street paper meant to them.

One Step Away vendor Jocelyn.

"One Step Away made a difference in my life because One Step Away made me realise that anybody can be one step away from being homeless," said vendor Jocelyn.

"I love working for One Step Away because we are changing people's lives each and every day and also helping their needs."

One Step Away vendor Ram.

For vendor Jarred, One step Away has been "the come up" in his life. His colleague Ram said that selling a street paper has given him "self-empowerment" and vendor Jayden added that One Step Away has given him "the chance to make a change in my life."

For vendor Daniel, his job at the grassroots non-profit has given him a huge hand up in life too.

"One Step Away keeps me from begging in the street," he said. "It employs me when no one else will give me a chance."

One Step Away vendor Daniel.
So a big congratulations to the staff, writers and vendors of One Step Away on the milestone, and here's to five more years of quality journalism that is helping to change lives straight from the streets of Philadelphia.

You can help celebrate street paper vendors like Jocelyn, Jarred, Ram, Jayden and Daniel around the world by signing up for INSP's Thunderclap during #VendorWeek 2015.

See below for more details.

12 December 2014

Our vendors: Richard Mills - The Big Issue UK, Gloucester

"I love selling the Big Issue but I don't think people realise what a hard job it is," says 50-year-old Richard Mills, who sells The Big Issue in Gloucester, England.

Former rockin' roadie turned Big Issue vendor Richard Mills.
Before selling a street paper, Richard was a roadie and guitar technician for 15 years, travelling the world and working on tour with big name rock stars like the Manic Street Preachers and Catatonia.

"I used to follow bands around on tour and a friend of mine had a company doing theatre work in Cambridge, unloading the trucks and fixing up big arenas for gigs," he recalls.

"This led me into doing guitar technician work, and I worked on a self-employed basis for about 15 years. I was working with bands and performers like Manic Street Preachers, Catatonia and Paul Young."

Richard became homeless about two and a half years ago after losing work.

Following a spell of sleeping on the streets and camping in tents, he finally found a place to stay thanks, he says, to "a man from round the corner, who worked at an estate agents, asked if I wanted to do a bit of flat sitting for him. And since then, I've been in a flat. It was a top offer."

Richard now sells The Big Issue in his hometown. "I used to buy the Big Issue back when it first started, when it was a broadsheet and cost about 50p," he says.

"A friend of mine suggested I try selling it, when I was in a night shelter about two and a half years ago."

While being outdoors in all weather often proves to be a tough gig, Richard says it's his customers who often keep him motivated. It turns out The Big Issue seller has become an inspiration to the community too.

"Selling the Big Issue is one of the hardest jobs I've ever had to do, so I wouldn't mind getting an easier one," he says.

"But then, a woman came up to me the other day, when I was feeling really depressed, and said, 'I see you out in all weathers - You're a real source of inspiration to me.'"

You can help celebrate street paper vendors like Richard around the world by signing up for INSP's Thunderclap during #VendorWeek 2015 here

11 December 2014

Charity single 'Living on the Street' released to help feed Danish vendors

By Laura Smith

A Danish singer songwriter has released a single to support sellers of Hus Forbi, her local street paper, just in time for Christmas.

Natasja Lee Dickinson's charity single, 'Living on the Street' was inspired by the many hours she spent on the street with Hus Forbi vendors last year.

Natasja gets a Christmas kiss from a Hus Forbi vendor

"As a musician and songwriter, I have met many people on the street and in homeless shelters," said the 37-year-old from Praesto.

"Hearing the magazine sellers' life stories and experiences inspired my thoughts and lyrics, so I wanted to give something in return."

The song was released on 1 December through iTunes. All money raised through sales within the first three months will go towards providing meals for people who sell the street magazine across the country.

"A meal not only nourishes them but offers another opportunity for socializing - both are necessary fuel for a life that can be quite hard when one is excluded or homeless," explained the singer.

"I also wanted to enlighten the Danes about why some people end up on the street - who they are and the story behind their circumstances."

Natasja is well aware of the importance of street papers and has formed a close friendship with her local Hus Forbi seller, so much so that he often doesn't want her to pay for the magazine.

"Life on the street is hard and not everyone can cope with it," added the singer.

"I think selling the magazine prevents loneliness, brings back self-respect and gives vendors a reason to get up in the morning.

"Not only is it a good way to help those in poverty help themselves, it is also a way for society to keep in touch with those who sometimes lose their grip on life."

You can download Natasja's single "Living on the Street" on iTunes here.

Photos by Mette Kramer Kristensen during a Christmas lunch held for the Hus Forbi vendors in 2013.


10 December 2014

Street paper single "Santa’s Coming Round" celebrates Big Issue vendors

'Tis the season to be jolly ... but it's also the season to spare a thought for the thousands of people around the world who will spend the lead up to Christmas out in the cold selling street papers.

To celebrate his local street paper vendors and raise awareness of the work they do, Glenn Hodge, a British singer songwriter from London-based folk band Glenn Hodge Banned, has written and recorded a fantastic Christmas song just for The Big Issue.

Glenn explained that the song is inspired by a friend of his who helped to set up =Oslo, a magazine written and sold by homeless people in Oslo, Norway.

"The friend became a big influence on me and really opened my eyes to a lot of social issues," said Glenn.

"Things that were happening on my own doorstep that I’d perhaps been blissfully unaware of before. I resolved to do whatever I could to help. I’m a songwriter and I wanted to make a bit of noise for the Big Issue’s cause at this particularly difficult time of year."

The result is Glenn's catchy festive tune 'Santa’s Coming Round'. The song's accompanying video was filmed in London and stars many Big Issue vendors on their pitches around the city.

Glenn added: “In the same way my mate opened my eyes, I’m hoping this single and its accompanying film will open the eyes of some of the people who hear and see it. Or at the very least boost sales of the Christmas mags.”

Join our Thunderclap to celebrate #VendorWeek

In the run-up to our biggest #VendorWeek yet, INSP is calling on all our supporters to donate their social reach to speak up for street paper vendors.

In 35 countries, our network of street papers offers support, hope and a livelihood to people facing homelessness, poverty and unemployment.

The first week of February is INSP’s international #VendorWeek – a celebration of people who are working their way out of poverty.

In addition to the many ‘real world’ events held by street papers, #VendorWeek will also take place online.

Using Thunderclap, we aim to get a message of support out to thousands of people internationally.

To join this 'online flashmob', all you have to do is follow the link above.

It will take you to a page where you can click to 'support with Twitter', 'support with Facebook' or 'support with Tumblr'.

In February, your tweet will go out automatically with everyone else's - thus raising the profile of the campaign.

Here's some FAQs about Thunderclap, in case you haven't used it before.

Thunderclap is the world's first crowdspeaking platform. To date, more than 3 million people have donated their social reach for ideas and causes that matter, reaching more than 3.5 billion people in 238 countries and territories.

You can help us speak up for some of the world’s most marginalised people.

It’s quick, easy and free to get involved. Just follow this link to tell your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr that you’re standing up for the street paper movement this #VendorWeek. Then share your support to recruit more people!

9 December 2014

Our vendors: Hendrik Beune - Megaphone, Vancouver

“I do a lot of different things that keep me happy, healthy and busy in life. Megaphone's one of them, and it's an important part of it,” says Hendrik Beune, who started selling the Vancouver street paper in 2009.

“Selling the paper gets me out on my bicycle, doing deliveries to my regular customers in the DTES [Downtown Eastside] and it gets me to the farmers markets, where I sell to the public. This contributes to a healthy lifestyle - I am not cooped up inside behind a computer all the time.”

 Another bonus for Hendrik is getting to meet and engage with new people on a daily basis. “I have conversations with my customers about everything!" he adds. “I often get asked if I'm homeless - that's a common misconception. No, I'm not homeless, but I was virtually homeless for a long time.”

Originally from the Netherlands, Hendrik moved to Canada when he was 19 to study biology. His cousin, who lives in Edmonton, helped to get him accepted to the University of Alberta but, after hearing that Vancouver was known as “the San Francisco of the North” he went to UBC instead to earn a degree in Zoology and Ecology.

After graduating, Hendrik spent decades on the west coast surveying watersheds, building boats, and farming shellfish until a back injury sidelined him from physical work. He then moved with his wife and two children to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. 

“I moved out of a dingy, rat-infested SRO hotel into something decent in 2010. Before that, I didn't have much choice. Not being able to work and receiving no compensation, I ended up on the street for a while until I finally received some help from social services,” Hendrik recalls.

“I had never been on 'welfare' before in my life. I was too proud and always managed to get by somehow, but I could barely walk when I got to Vancouver and after three days without food, I was persuaded to stand in line for a food handout. I got to meet people from different strokes and learned how to access the social services system. That was an education all by itself."

In 2009, Hendrik heard about Megaphone and been working as a street newspaper vendor ever since.

He says: "Most people work for a mortgage. Then you've got us, who are free on the streets if you can handle not to get enslaved with drugs.

"But I kind of like how people are different and living together in the same city. Building those connections is really important: I think that's the main goal for me and also the purpose of Megaphone.

"The stories in Megaphone are written from the perspective of the other side of society that's often despised and looked down upon," Hendrik continues. "These are real people with real lives and Megaphone helps to personalise them and gives them respect for their struggles.

“We've got so much unrecognised talent here, if people really connected and got to know each other better and bridged those barriers that make some people seem different and unacceptable to others, then we can have a truly mixed, wholesome society where people work together and create a common good.”

Original interview by Megaphone's Jackie Wong.

Megaphone is sold on the streets of Vancouver and Victoria by homeless and low-income vendors. Vendors buy the magazine for 75 cents and sell it for $2, keeping the profit and earning a sense of pride and dignity.

2 December 2014

Macedonian street paper Lice v lice celebrates award win

Team Lice v lice
By Laura Smith

The hard work of staff and vendors at Macedonia’s only street paper, Lice v lice, has been recognised with a prestigious award.

On November 29, Lice v lice received an award celebrating its work with homeless people across the country, during the annual Philanthropy and Social Responsibility Awards held by the Center for Institutional Development (CIRa) in Skopje.

The award is an incredible achievement for the Skopje-based magazine, which started production just two years ago.

Maja Nedelkovska, project coordinator at Lice v lice, said: “This is the first award that we are receiving, and it means a lot to us. It comes after two years of constant battle to keep Lice v lice alive and kicking.”

Klimentina Ilijevski, Lice v lice’s executive director, added: “This award represents the success not only for the team of Lice v lice, but also for all the citizens, organizations, institutions and companies that understand and support our initiative to create a better society for us all.”

Winning the award for ‘Media contributing in philanthropic practices in Macedonia’ has not only been a boost to Lice v lice’s staff but also the 40 plus vendors the magazine works with in four different cities across Macedonia.

“Besides our staff, our vendors need and certainly deserve this kind of recognition for their efforts,” continued Klimentina.

“They have made a step toward their way out of poverty and exclusion. This award is also a recognition that someone notices their efforts and endorses it.

“We hope it will make the brand they wear on their shirts while selling the magazine more visible and will impact the sales of the magazine in a positive way.”

The annual awards aims to recognise charities, social enterprises, CSOs and individuals for their contribution to society and the promotion of values such as solidarity, esteem, ethics, humanity and philanthropy.

Maree Aldam, CEO of INSP, said: “Congratulations to the Lice v lice staff and vendors – this is a fantastic achievement.

“We have been so impressed by the way Lice v lice has grown and developed in the past two years since its launch and it’s great to see their hard work being recognised like this in Macedonia.”

1 December 2014

‘Naomi Klein: This Changes Everything’ republished

Street Roots (USA)
Time is running out if we’re to avoid catastrophic climate change but Naomi Klein says that a total overhaul of capitalism might just give us a chance. Klein is a famous Canadian author and social activist known for her criticism of corporate globalization and No Logo, a book that went on to become an international bestseller. Kevin Gopal of The Big Issue in the North interviews Klein’s about her latest book, This Changes Everything.

The story by The Big Issue in the North (UK) was republished by Street Roots (USA), L'Itinéraire (Canada), Ireland's Big Issue, Real Change (USA), Asphalt (Germany), Fiftyfifty (Germany) and Article 25 (USA). It can still be downloaded here.

„Naomi Klein: Die Entscheidung“ erscheint in mehreren Ländern

Um einen katastrophalen Klimawandel noch zu verhindern, läuft uns langsam die Zeit davon. Die berühmte kanadische Autorin und Aktivistin Naomi Klein aber sieht eine Chance in einer Überarbeitung des Kapitalismus. Klein wurde durch ihre Kritik an der von Konzernen gesteuerten Globalisierung und ihren internationalen Bestseller „No Logo“ bekannt. Kevin Gopal vom „Big Issue in the North“ sprach mit ihr über ihr neuestes Buch „Die Entscheidung: Kapitalismus vs. Klima“. 

Der Artikel des „Big Issue in the North“ (UK) erschien auch in „Street Roots“ (USA), „L’Itinéraire" (Kanada), „Ireland's Big Issue“, „Real Change“ (USA), „Asphalt“ (Deutschland), „Fiftyfifty“ (Deutschland) und „Article 25“ (USA).

Hier können Sie den Artikel herunterladen.

Street Roots (USA)

26 November 2014

Fay Selvan named as new INSP Chair

Award-winning social entrepreneur Fay Selvan (left) has been appointed as the new Chair of INSP.

Fay will lead the INSP Board as they work closely with the Chief Executive to form the strategic direction of the organisation. She has been on the Board since August 2013.

As Chief Executive of The Big Life group, Fay leads the organisation that publishes The Big Issue in the North – one of the INSP’s two UK street papers, alongside The Big Issue.

Set up in 2002, The Big Life group works across the north of England to deliver a range of services and opportunities to the area’s most excluded people. As well as producing The Big Issue in the North, it also provides primary care and mental health services, family intervention, childcare, schools, employment and supported housing. Fay won the Social Enterprise Leader Award in 2011.

Fay said: “I am really honoured to take on the role of Chair and look forward to working with colleagues at INSP over the next few years.”

Fay takes over from Canadian street paper veteran Serge Lareault, who has been INSP Chair since 2006. Serge left Montréal’s L’Itinéraire in July, after 20 years with the street paper, latterly serving as CEO.

He will continue to support the street paper movement as Honorary President of INSP, taking over from former Editor-in-Chief of Reuters News, David Schlesinger. David Schlesinger will continue to support INSP through his role on the advisory board.

Serge said: “I am very proud of our accomplishments at INSP over the last eight years. Fay Selvan will continue this development work brilliantly and I will be happy, as Honorary President, to continue to support our street papers and our movement.”

Maree Aldam, INSP Chief Executive said: “We are very happy to welcome Fay Selvan as INSP’s new Chair.

“Working with Fay, INSP will continue to support and develop street papers around the world and to champion social business as a practical and powerful way to address homelessness and poverty.

“We are currently working towards our two major annual events: #VendorWeek, our global celebration of street paper sellers, which takes place from 2-8 February; and our annual conference, which will bring together street paper experts in Seattle in June next year.

“We also continue to run INSP’s unique News Service, which shares content produced by our network and our in-house team to strengthen the content of worldwide street papers.

“The entire INSP team and network would like to offer a huge thank you to Serge for his inspirational leadership of INSP. We have been very lucky to have him.

“We would also like to thank David Schlesinger for his valuable support for INSP.”

24 November 2014

‘Struggling to find water in the vast Pacific’ republished

The Big Issue Korea
Pacific Island states are surrounded by the largest ocean in the world, yet many living there struggle to get enough water to meet basic needs. People living in small villages on islands such as Upolu, the main island of Samoa, are dependent on rainfall because they have no money for water tanks or pipes. In the dry season they struggle with sanitation, washing, cooking and drinking and when droughts occur, as they did in 2011 and 2012, they can be left with no water at all. Inadequate water sources and climate change are both major problems, as is poor infrastructure.

The story by IPS was republished by The Big Issue Korea & Shedia (Greece). It can still be downloaded here.

“Der Kampf, Wasser zu finden in der Weite der Pazifik”

Inselstaaten im pazifischen Ozean liegen in der größten Wasserfläche auf der Erde, trotzdem ist es für viele Bewohner ein Kampf, genügend Wasser für die Grundbedürfnisse des Lebens zu finden. Die Bevölkerung kleiner Dörfer auf Inseln wie Upolu, der größten Insel des Staates Samoa, sind auf Regenwasser angewiesen, da sie weder Geld für Wasserleitungen oder Wasserspeichertanks haben. Während der Trockenzeit werden Abwasser, Waschen, Kochen und Trinkwasser zu handfesten Problemen und wenn es eine Dürre gibt, wie in 2011 und 2012 geschehen, gibt es für lange Zeit überhaupt kein Wasser. Es gibt wenige Quellen von Süßwasser, dazu kommen Klimaveränderungen und einen dürftige Infrastruktur. Dieser Artikel von IPS wurde in The Big Issue Korea und in Shedia (Griechenland) wiederöffentlicht. Noch immer zum Download verfügbar hier.

17 November 2014

'Susan Sarandon: Oscar winner and homeless campaigner' republished

The Big Issue Japan
Susan Sarandon is an acclaimed US actress who won an Academy Award for the 1995 film Dead Man Walking, and a BAFTA a year earlier for her role in The Client. She also starred in Thelma & Louise and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, among many other movies. Aside from acting, Sarandon is a fierce advocate for homeless rights and she campaigns to end world hunger – receiving the Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award in 2006. Sarandon spoke to Street Sense about her son’s new documentary which she hoped would increase understanding of the issues faced by homeless people. She was also demanding that US Congress classifies violence against homeless people as a hate crime.

The story by Street Sense in the USA was republished by The Big Issue Japan. Toledo Streets (USA), One Step Away (USA), Die Strasse (Germany), Abseits!? (Germany) and Strassenkreuzer (Germany). It can still be downloaded here.

Susan Sarandon: Oscar-Gewinnerin und Kämpferin für Obdachlosen-Rechte

Die gefeierte US-Schauspielerin Susan Sarandon gewann einen Oscar für ihre Rolle in „Dead Man Walking“ (1995) und war ein Jahr vorher für ihre Rolle in „Der Klient“ für den BAFTA nominiert. Neben vielen anderen Rollen war sie in „Thelma & Louise“ und der Rocky Horror Picture Show zu sehen. Neben der Schauspielerei kämpft Sarandon entschlossen für die Rechte Obdachloser und gegen den Hunger in der Welt - dafür bekam sie 2006 den „Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award“. Mit dem Straßenmagazin „Street Sense“ sprach Sarandon über den neuen Dokumentarfilm ihres Sohnes, von dem sie hofft, dass er das Verständnis für die Probleme von Wohnungslosen fördern könnte. Dazu fordert Sarandon, dass der US-Kongress Gewalt gegen Obdachlose als Hassverbrechen klassifiziert.

Der Artikel von „Street Sense“ (USA) ist auch in folgenden Publikationen erschienen: Im „Big Issue Japan“, „Toledo Streets“ (USA), „One Step Away“ (USA), „Die Straße“ (Deutschland), „Abseits!?“ (Deutschland) und „Straßenkreuzer“ (Deutschland). Hier können Sie ihn herunterladen

One Step Away (USA)

11 November 2014

INSP co-founder Mel Young becomes Ashoka Fellow

Chile Men's team win Homeless World Cup.
Photo: Elaine Livingstone

INSP and Big Issue in Scotland co-founder Mel Young has been elected to the prestigious position of Ashoka Fellow.

Ashoka is the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs. Nearly 3,000 Ashoka Fellows in 70 countries are currently putting their system-changing ideas into practice on a global scale.

Young was nominated for the prestigious position by thanks to his ongoing innovative work on the Homeless World Cup.

First dreamed up at the INSP conference in Cape Town in 2001, the Homeless World Cup uses the universal language of football to bring together homeless people from around the world each year for a tournament that breaks down barriers and smashes stereotypes.

Mel Young & Dominicus Hangara
Photo: Danielle Batist
It uses the power of football to energise homeless people so they can change their own lives.

The first event in 2003 saw 17 countries compete, sourcing teams from wherever they could.

Now, Young works with partners in 73 countries across a network that has initiated, supported and catalysed a wave of professionalised homeless leagues around the world. Finalists are then selected to represent their countries.

Through these many partners, the lives of some 250,000 homeless football players are touched each year.

This year’s tournament was held in Santiago, Chile in October and saw 432 players come together for an exciting week-long tournament. Both the women’s and men’s competitions were eventually won by the home nation.

10 November 2014

Calling out around the world! Dancing in the street with Portland’s Street Roots

The Street Roots team are dancing in the streets of Oregon in a brand new celebratory video, as the street paper prepares to go from a fortnightly to a weekly publication.

The unique flashmob-style video follows the paper from printer to public, culminating in a toe-tapping finale.

It is at the forefront of a fundraising drive to help the paper double its print frequency.

Since 1998, Street Roots has been Portland’s flagship publication addressing homelessness and poverty.

From 2 January 2015 their vendors will have a new paper to sell every Friday.

“Street Roots will be going from a biweekly to a weekly publication schedule to give vendors a more stable income week-in and week-out,” said Street Roots Executive Director Israel Bayer.

“It will allow the organisation to deliver quality journalism and commentary to our readers on a more timely basis. It's an exciting time for Street Roots and Portland.”

Vendor Eddie Zuber praised the award-winning publication. “Selling the newspaper makes my life feel more fulfilled,” he said.

“When I could not work because of my physical strength, I was able to sell the paper. There are so many good things I can say about selling Street Roots.”

For more information about Street Roots and their fundraising drive, see their website.

Malala Yousafzai interview republished

The Big Issue in the North (UK)
For girls living in northern Pakistan’s sprawling tribal regions, the struggle for education began long before that fateful day when members of the Taliban shot a 15-year-old schoolgirl in the head. Still, the news that Malala Yousafzai – a former resident of the Swat Valley – won the Nobel Peace Prize brought hope to those battling the Taliban. “It will be a motivational force for parents to send their daughters back to school,” said Muhammad Shafique, a professor at the University of Peshawar.

The story was republished by The Big Issue in the North, UK, Bodo in Germany, Real Change in the USA, and Salt Lake Street News, also in America. It can still be downloaded here.

Interview mit Malala Yousafzai erscheint in mehreren Ländern

Für die Mädchen, die in den Regionen Pakistans leben, die von Stämmen kontrolliert werden, hat der Kampf um Bildung lange vor dem schicksalhaften Tag begonnen, an dem Mitglieder der Taliban ein 15 Jahre altes Schulmädchen in den Kopf schossen. Trotzdem hat die Nachricht, dass Malala Yousafzai, die früher im Swat-Tal lebte, den Friedensnobelpreis bekommt, denen, die gegen die Taliban kämpfen, neue Hoffnung gegeben. „Das wird viele Eltern motivieren, ihre Töchter wieder zurück in die Schule zu schicken“, sagt Muhammad Shafique, Professor an der Universität von Peshawar.

Der Artikel erschien auch im „Big Issue in the North“ aus dem Vereinigten Königreich, „Bodo“ aus Deutschland, „Real Change“ und „Salt Lake Street News“ (beide USA). Hier können Sie ihn herunterladen

The Big Issue in the North (UK)
The Big Issue in the North

3 November 2014

‘Julian Assange interview’ republished

Shedia (Greece)
Julian Assange is a founder of Wikileaks, media that came to prominence in 2010 when it released top secret US military documents provided by whistle-blower, Chelsea Manning. Since 2012, Assange has been living inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, UK, while challenging extradition to Sweden where he is under investigation over alleged sex offences. Assange denies these claims and fears extradition to America to face charges of espionage, a crime that could see him face the death penalty. He spoke to Kevin Gopal of The Big Issue in the North about his new book.

The story was republished by: Shedia (Greece), Surprise (Switzerland), Megafon (Norway), Kupfermuckn (Austria), Steet Roots (USA), The Big Issue Ireland, Asphalt (Germany) and Hecho en Buenos Aires (Argentina).

The article can still be downloaded here.

Interview mit Julian Assange erscheint in mehreren Ländern

Julian Assange ist einer der Gründer der Internet-Plattform „Wikileaks“, die bekannt wurde, als sie 2010 geheime Dokumente des US-Militärs veröffentlichte, die der Whistle-Blower Chelsea Manning bereitgestellt hatte. Seit 2012 lebt Assange in der ecuadorianischen Botschaft in London. Er versucht, einer Auslieferung nach Schweden zu entgehen, wo ihm eine Anklage wegen mutmaßlicher Sexualverbrechen droht. Assange bestreitet die Anschuldigungen. Er fürchtet eine Auslieferung von Schweden in die USA, wo  er wegen Spionage angeklagt werden könnte - ein Vergehen, das auch mit dem Tod bestraft werden kann. Mit Kevin Gopal vom „Big Issue in the North“ sprach er über sein neues Buch.

Folgende Straßenmagazine haben das Interview veröffentlicht: „Shedia“ (Griechenland), „Surprise“ (Schweiz), „Megafon“ (Norwegen), „Kupfermuckn“ (Österreich), „Street Roots“ (USA), „The Big Issue Ireland“, „Asphalt“ (Deutschland) und „Hecho en Buenos Aires“ (Argentinien).

Hier können Sie den Artikel herunterladen.

Shedia (Greece)
Shedia (Greece)

Megafon (Norway)
Megafon (Norway)

27 October 2014

‘Vendor Spotlight: Hendrick Beune (Megaphone)’ republished

Surprise (Switzerland)
At 19, Hendrik Beune left his home in the Netherlands to study biology in Canada. He spent decades on the west coast surveying watersheds, building boats, and farming shellfish until a back injury side-lined him from physical work. He wound up in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and has been working as a street newspaper vendor for five years. Selling Megaphone, he says reflects the new focus of his life’s work: to work towards building a more just and environmentally sustainable society. He speaks to Megaphone about his studies with animals and living in the wild with his family for 12 years.

This story was published by Denver Voice (USA), Surprise (Switzerland), and Real Change (USA). It can still be downloaded here.

‚Verkäufer im Rampenlicht: Hendrick Beune (Megaphone)‘, wiederveröffentlicht

„Verkäufer im Rampenlicht: Hendrick Beune (Megaphone)“ erscheint in den USA und der Schweiz Mit 19 Jahren verließ Hendrik Beune die Niederlande, um in Kanada Biologie zu studieren. Er verbrachte Jahrzehnte an der Westküste, wo er Wasserläufe untersuchte, Boote baute und Krustentiere züchtete, bis er wegen einer Rückenverletzung nicht mehr körperlich arbeiten konnte. Er landete in der Downtown Eastside von Vancouver. Seit fünf Jahren verkauft er Straßenmagazine. Der Verkauf von „Megaphone“ reflektiert den neuen Fokus, den er seinem Leben geben will: Beim Aufbau einer gerechteren und umweltfreundlicheren Gesellschaft zu helfen. Mit „Megaphone“ spricht er über seine Forschungen an Tieren und seine Familie, mit der er zwölf Jahre lang in der Wildnis lebte.

Der Artikel erschien in der „Denver Voice“ (USA), „Surprise“ (Schweiz) und „Real Change“ (USA). Hier können Sie ihn herunterladen.

Denver VOICE (USA)

8 fundraising lessons: what can we learn from patterned bread and a Star Trek wannabe?

By Zoe Greenfield

Last week I attended the Institute of Fundraising Scottish Conference 2014 in Glasgow. This was an interesting role reversal for me, as I organise INSP’s annual conference.

The ambitious programme over two days covered five themes: management and strategy; individual giving; community and events; corporate and trusts; and marketing and communications.

First class content meant delegates, especially those working as sole fundraisers, were spoilt for choice! Here are some of my personal aha! moments.

1.    Strand strong, together
There is a rising gap between rich and poor and there needs to be more recognition that this inequality hurts and weakens society, not just those directly experiencing poverty in any of its guises. 

Martin Sime, Chief Executive of SCVO warned of a campaign to undermine public perception of charities: “If such attacks continue they risk undermining public trust in charities which will make it more difficult to raise money for good causes.”

Sime went on to argue that such attacks were a deliberate attempt to silence charities that criticise or challenge the status quo.  Many organisations have campaigning for social justice and giving a voice to the poor and marginalised at their core. We have a responsibility as a sector to protect and promote this.

2.    Paradox 

3.    #proudtobeafundraiser
Sometimes fundraising is treated as a taboo, a dirty word, down played and not acknowledged as a core activity within our organisations.

Fundraising should be integral to the mission of any charity.

Charities all over Scotland (and the world!) are doing great work, but without fundraising this simply would not be possible: “Unrestricted funds are SUPERCASH and they unlock the creativity of our organisations to respond to problems in society.” Martin Sime, SCVO

4.    Pareto Principle
“The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.” - Wikipedia

So what exactly does this have to do with fundraising? ‘Major Giving on a Shoestring’ with Margaret Clift-McNulty, that’s what. Major donor fundraising is an efficient way to fundraise and yields a good return. The main investment is time (oh, and a cup of coffee and your bus fare to those face-to-face meetings). What is considered a ‘major gift’ will vary – a donation which is ‘big’ relative to your organisation but they all have one thing in common, they can be transformative. The law of the vital few.

5.    Tell happy stories too
Lucy Gower, of Lucy Innovation, delivered an engaging and interactive session on storytelling. Always scary when a session starts with, “If you want to sit at the back and write your shopping list, leave now.” A few people did leave. And they really missed out.  

Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to connect with your audience and inspire them to take action. In today’s communication saturated world, the ability to tell a good story will cut through a lot of the ‘noise’ and inspire people. As fundraisers (and writers) we are often tempted to tell a sad story, believing this will have more impact and provoke a deeper reaction. Lucy argues that yes, this emotional connection is vital but it’s not just sad stories which stir our emotions. Watch The World’s Toughest Job to see this in action.

6.    ‘The little things’
All too often we hear stories of mishandled complaints and general dissatisfaction with customer service in shops, on the phone and online. What we don’t hear so much, are the gems of customer service which enter the realm of ‘amazing customer experience’.  

Rachel Hunnybun of Practical Action argued that the charity sector should look to the corporate world for examples of such amazing customer experience and learn from them in how we relate to our supporters. Using examples from some big names (including Starbucks, Innocent and Netflix), Rachel explored the ways the commercial world is creating these experiences at low cost. Here are two fun examples:

-    Sainsbury’s renames Tiger bread Giraffe bread
-    Netflix customer service rep answers complaint as Captain Mike of the good ship Netflix

But what can we learn from a patterned loaf of bread and a Star Trek wannabe?

Summary: be personal, be prompt, tailor language and style (mirror theirs), strike a balance between professional and friendly, get the job done – do what you say you’re going to do, use humour (appropriately!). And that’s just a start…

7.    Winning isn’t everything
The Big Sell-Off was Highly Commended at the IoF awards in the Community and Events Category. INSP was shortlisted in the same category as the National Trust for Scotland and the Prince’s Trust for Scotland (winner). This is a huge achievement, to be up there with those well respected household names. Amazing!

We were also delighted to be one of only two international charities shortlisted for awards this year, along with Mercy Corps which was Highly Commended for its partnership with Twinings.

8.    Cheese
Households across the country spend as much a week on cheese as they do on giving to charity.
Scottish households are the most generous, challenging the ‘thrifty’ stereotype. Does that also mean we eat more cheese?

I’d like to thank the IoF for funding my place at the conference through their bursary scheme.

23 October 2014

Big praise for the Big Sell-Off

INSP’s inaugural Big Sell-Off, in association with The Big Issue, was highly commended at
INSP's Zoe Greenfield & Maree Aldam celebrate
Scotland’s most prestigious fundraising awards on Tuesday night.

The Institute of Fundraising Scotland praised February’s event, which raised more than £25,000 for INSP, whilst raising the profile of the charity and boosting sales of The Big Issue.

The event saw 30 high profile guest vendors sell The Big Issue, including Green MSP Patrick Harvie; author Alan Bissett; the Rt. Hon. Donald Wilson, Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh; and Herald and Times Group Managing Director Tim Blott.

“The first event of its kind, the Big Sell-Off 2014 was a highly successful fundraising and publicity event for both INSP and The Big Issue,” said awards host and innovation expert Lucy Gower.

“Over £25,000 was raised for INSP – more than double the fundraising target. The event secured extensive media coverage, including two slots on STV news, and served as a huge morale boost for Big Issue vendors and staff.”

The event was also applauded for its scalability – INSP is already working to expand the reach of the Big Sell-Off for #VendorWeek 2015.

INSP Chief Executive Maree Aldam said that she was delighted with the accolade.

“We are thrilled that IOF Scotland has recognised this innovative and enormously successful fundraising event,” she added.

“The Big Sell-Off does more than just raise money - it also gives our guest vendors an amazing opportunity to work with street paper sellers and understand the challenges they face. Many of the guest vendors have gone on to be ambassadors for the the street paper movement.”

Aldam paid tribute to the hard work and dedication that went into making the Big Sell-Off such a success. “I’d like to say a big thank you from the INSP to the team at The Big Issue; to all our guest vendors and, most of all, to every one of the real Big Issue vendors who work so hard every day – you are an inspiration.

“We are already looking forward to next year’s event and to making the Big Sell-Off 2015 even bigger and better.”

An important part of the INSP’s annual #VendorWeek, which celebrates the homeless people who sell street papers, the Big Sell-Off saw 30 high-profile individuals sell The Big Issue on the streets of Glasgow and Edinburgh. They raised sponsorship through their own networks.

INSP was nominated for the IOF Scotland Community and Events Award alongside the Prince’s Trust Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland. Prince’s Trust Scotland was the eventual winner, with INSP taking the highly commended spot.

“We are very proud to have been nominated alongside such fantastic organisations,” added Aldam. “The IoF Scotland event really showed the fantastic quality of charity work going on in Scotland.”

We are now looking for high profile individuals to take on the Big Sell-Off in February 2015 across the UK. If you think you’re up to the challenge, please get in touch.

20 October 2014

Ari Folman interview: "Gaza crisis is one of the worst I've experienced" republished

Lice v lice (Macedonia)
Ari Folman is the Israeli director of the award-winning documentary, Waltz with Bashir, which detailed his experiences in the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) during the Lebanon war in the 1980s. The film focused on the notorious Sabra and Shatila massacre in 1982, where a Christian militia killed hundreds of Palestinian refugees as the IDF, including Folman, guarded the gate and became complicit in the atrocity.

He spoke to Steven MacKenzie of The Big Issue UK about how he feels Waltz with Bashir failed to make any changes in light of the current conflict in Gaza.

The article was republished by The Big Issue Korea, The Big Issue Japan and Lice v lice, based in Skopje, Macedonia. It can still be downloaded here.

Ari Folman Interview: “Die Krise in Gaza ist die schlimmste, die ich erlebt habe”, wiederveröffentlicht

Ari Folman ist der Regisseur der ausgezeichneten Dokumentation, Waltz with Bashir, die seine Erfahrungen in den israelischen Verteidigungskräften (IDF) während des Libanonkriegs detailliert. Der Film fokussiert auf das berüchtigte Massaker von Sabra und Schatil im Jahr 1982, als eine christliche Miliz hunderte von palästinensische Flüchtlinge tötete während die IDF, einschließlich Folman, das Tor bewachte und an der Gräueltat mitschuldig wurden.

Er unterhielt sich mit Steven MacKenzie vom The Big Issue UK wie er darüber denkt, dass Waltz with Bashir keine Veränderungen herbeigeführt hat, angesichts des gegenwärtigen Konflikts in Gaza.

Der Artikel wurde von The Big Issue Korea, The Big Issue Japan und Licevlice, ansässig in Skopje, Mazedonien, wiederveröffentlicht. Er kann hier noch heruntergeladen werden.

The Big Issue Japan
The Big Issue Korea

17 October 2014

Oxfam Scotland: "GDP is not an adequate measure for addressing poverty"

Guest blog: Francis Stuart  | Research and Policy Adviser, Oxfam Scotland

Today is the United Nations’ international day for the eradication of poverty but, if we are to tackle poverty then we need to develop better ways of measuring success.

Oxfam is best known for our work overseas – responding to international emergencies and undertaking long term development work aimed at overcoming poverty and suffering. But we have also had a poverty programme in the United Kingdom since 1996, with specific country programmes in Scotland, England and Wales. We work the same way in the UK as we do overseas: partnering with community groups to support them to tackle poverty in their area.

Through our programme work in Scotland, we learned that economic growth and economic development was too often failing to benefit the people we worked with. This view is supported by the largest ever study of poverty undertaken in the UK - the Poverty and Social exclusion survey.

Published earlier this year, it found: “The percentage of households who fall below society’s minimum standard of living has increased from 14 per cent to 33 per cent over the last 30 years.”

That this took place at the same time as the size of the economy doubled is a damning indictment of our focus on trickle-down economic growth. Clearly economic growth, as measured by GDP, is not an adequate measure for addressing poverty. 

That being the case, what is the alternative?

In 2012 we launched the Oxfam Humankind Index.

This is an attempt to create a new way of measuring what makes a good life. It takes money into account, but it also recognises that it takes more than just economic growth to make a prosperous nation. It focuses on identifying the social foundations people need to live a fulfilling life.

The construction of the Humankind Index was deliberately participatory – we wanted to involve people in determining the things that matter to them. We also wanted to reach groups that are ‘seldom-heard’ in mainstream policy making (people with experience of a disability, people with experience of homelessness, refugee communities). Governments often call them ‘hard-to-reach’ groups. In reality, they are not hard to reach – you just have to make the effort, go out to local communities, and – crucially – resource that process.

We did just that: we ran focus groups, community workshops and street stalls – in addition to online and telephone surveys.

In total we spoke to 3,000 people across Scotland. In doing so, we actively sought to remove barriers – such as childcare and transport costs – that often prevent or discourage people from engaging in the sort of narrow consultations that for too long have led to non-representative policies and outcomes.

The question that we asked was: ‘What do you need to live well in your community?’ This was left deliberately wide to avoid constraining the feedback we received.

The outcome of all those conversations was the Humankind Index – a set of 18 ‘factors of prosperity’ which we believe offer an improved representation of the priorities of the people of Scotland.

Top of that list was:
  • An affordable, decent and safe home to live in
  • Good physical and mental health
  • Living in a neighbourhood where you can enjoy going outside and having a clean and healthy environment
  • Having satisfying work to do (paid or unpaid)
  • Having good relationships with family and friends

Interestingly – the financial factors don’t appear until round about the middle of the list. And when they do appear – they are not about earning lots of money. They are about a secure source of income that provides enough to live on.

None of this is complex – these are basic foundations which are pretty obviously important, when you think about it. But they are too often neglected in favour of simplistic indicators like Gross Domestic Product.

We must start to move away from GDP as the key indicator of societal success and towards measures that take account of the social and environmental foundations we all need to live on. Until we do, we risk several more UN International days for the eradication of poverty passing us by with little real progress.