Saints Foundation’s partnership with The Big Issue scoops gold at the Sports Business Awards

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Saints Foundation was delighted to win gold at the prestigious Sports Business Awards 2018 last Friday, picking up the Sports Innovation Award for its partnership with The Big Issue.

The partnership began at the start of the 2017-18 football season, kicking off with a unique collaboration between the two organisations, which saw a special edition Big Issue magazine double up as Southampton Football Club’s official programme for the Premier League fixture against Swansea City. The magazine was sold throughout Hampshire, and by Big Issue vendors at St Mary’s on matchday.

Saints Foundation then delivered a unique employability programme for Big Issue vendors at St Mary’s Stadium, with four vendors being offered employment within various sectors of the football club after completing the course.

Gary Jackson, who was unemployed for 18 months before getting involved with The Big Issue and being taken on as a steward at Southampton FC, said: “Saints Foundation have given me the inspiration and emotional support to completely change my outlook on life. I’ve began to believe in myself again, and I’ve been inspired to always do my best.”

The Sports Business Awards Judging Panel 2018 called the partnership a “clever, fresh idea’, commenting that they were “taken by the clear, positive results it achieved making a real difference to people in need.”

Greg Baker, Head of Saints Foundation, added: “We are really proud to have won gold for ‘Sports Innovation’ at the Sports Business Awards, for our work with The Big Issue across the course of the 2017/18 season. From the launch of our world-first match day magazine in August, and throughout the subsequent employability programme delivered for Big Issue vendors at St Mary’s Stadium, it has been clear that the values and objectives of the two organisations align perfectly. We are delighted that the success of the partnership has now been recognised externally, and to win such a prestigious prize is testament to the hard work put in by all concerned, not least the vendors themselves”.

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