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December blog

07 March 2011

It's that time of year again. When the streets become decorated in a sea of tinsel and holly and you can't walk past a retail outlet without hearing a rendition of Jingle Bells.

It's also that time of year when businesses like to show their appreciation of their clients and staff. Conscientious staffers frantically search the internet for that perfect gift... the one that doesn't take a lot to coordinate, that falls within budget and might just even bring a smile to the faces of those that receive it.

Giving charitable donations at Christmas time has become increasingly popular in recent years, although as someone who is delighted when I know my purchases are helping others I have to say that many of these initiatives only bring short lived excitement. While the thrill of putting in your credit card details to purchase a goat for an under privileged family in Africa is great, most of us forget about the goat, and the family it is supposedly helping, before the new year even begins.

This year The Big Issue is launching something a little different... a subscription service to The Big Issue magazine. This new initiative sees subscriptions to our hugely popular magazine sold and homeless and marginalised women are employed to sort, collate and distribute magazines to subscribers each fortnight. For every 100 subscriptions sold 1 homeless woman is employed, providing her with paid work and training in a safe, secure and rewarding environment and giving her hope for a brighter future.

As Christmas now looms I encourage you to consider a subscription to The Big Issue for your gifts. Not only will you provide your clients and staff with a high quality magazine each fortnight, but when it's delivered they will be reminded that it's been packed by a woman working in our distribution centre, who is earning an income, acquiring new skills and having the opportunity to turn her life around.. It really is a gift that keeps on giving.

For Sheynell, a 28 year old petite, softly spoken Indigenous woman, who has lived on the streets of Sydney for 15 years, a $155 magazine subscription will change her life.

\"Working on the Women's Subscription Enterprises would mean everything to me,\" Sheynell says.

\"Being able to work and learn in a safe environment would give me stability and security, two things in my life that I have always wanted.

\"At the moment all I can do is take life one day at a time. I don't plan for the future. But if I had a job, I'd be able to plan. I'd have something to look forward to.

\"I reckon everyone deserves a second chance in life. One day, I hope I get mine.\"

So before you start the search once again for the ultimate Christmas hamper, think about how your money could help some of Australia's 46 000 homeless women. Buy a subscription to The Big Issue today.