Episode 300! Fay Selvan, Big Life group – supporting Big Issue North vendors and advice for social entrepreneurs

INTERVIEW: Fay Selvan, Chief Executive of the Big Life group, which employs around 500 people and turns over £20m.

The Big Life Group is in the business of changing lives, creating opportunities for people who have the least. It runs schools, nurseries, children’s centres and family support services.

Big Issue North and The Big Issue North Trust are also part of The Big Life Group. The Trust, a registered charity, raises funds to provide a range of support for Big Issue North vendors, including support accessing services, help getting ID, home furnishing packages and projects such as breakfast clubs.

Big Issue North is a ‘business solution to a social problem’ – a limited company employing staff to produce and distribute the weekly magazine (Big Issue North) sold by people who have limited other ways of earning an income in the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber.

In this episode of the Business Live radio show, broadcast on Sheffield Live FM radio on 29 May 2020 (podcast below) Fay describes:

  • The group’s services and how it has adapted in current times to ensure it can still provide support to people
  • What happened when Big Issue North vendors had to stop selling the magazine because of the lockdown
  • Getting vendors who want to sell the magazine back up and running in June
  • Advice for other social entrepreneurs

We also cover Sheffield’s Archer Project and The Suit Works.

Here’s the podcast. A week after broadcasting (doh!), I realised that this was episode 300 of the show. Click the large arrow to play, or hover over the media player and click on the icon on the bottom right corner to download it.

You can also access it in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, numerous other podcast apps or Spotify.


  • 0 – 2:17 introduction,
  • 2:17 – 35:36 Fay Selvan,
  • 35:36 Details of a fundraiser in support of Sheffield’s Archer Project,
  • 38:00 Details of the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate scheme, which is now open,
  • 40:36 The Suit Works – which supports unemployed people to get into work – is fundraising now.
  • 41:40 Wrapping up.

What Next:

  • The Big Life group and Big Issue North.
  • The Business Live radio show is broadcast every Friday on Sheffield Live radio and available as a podcast in numerous podcast apps. Enjoy the show? Please leave a review or rating, and please subscribe to the podcast to ensure you don’t miss the next one.
  • Sheffield Live’s website is here.