Big Issue invests 500K in Cornerstone

The founder of The Big Issue, John Bird MBE, has announced a £500,000 investment in Cornerstone.

Mr Bird revealed the information at the second annual Nick Baxter Memorial Lecture which took place on Tuesday 12th May at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. During the lecture he praised the work of Nick Baxter and Cornerstone, citing how the charity’s ethos was closely related to that of The Big Issue.

The investment will be used to help Cornerstone provide care and support services for adults, young people and children across Scotland who live with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and other support needs.

The lecture series was set up last year in memory of Nick Baxter, the founder and former Chief Executive of Cornerstone, as well as in recognition of his ground-breaking work and entrepreneurial spirit.

Mr Bird set up The Big Issue, one of the UK’s leading social businesses, which exists to offer homeless people, or individuals at risk of homelessness, the opportunity to earn a legitimate income, in 1991.

The weekly magazine achieves mass circulation on the UK streets being sold only by vendors who are homeless. The Big Issue, or similar magazines, are published in dozens of countries around the world – always with the same aim of helping those struggling for a break in society.

During his lecture, Mr Bird discussed his journey as creator of The Big Issue, covering the challenges he faced, the development of further business arms such as Big Issue Invest and his vision for the future of social enterprise.

He also championed the need to put preventative measures first when tackling social issues and emphasised the Big Issue's ethos of providing a hand-up and not a hand-out.

Nick, who passed away in 2013 after a short illness, set up Cornerstone Community Care (as it was then known) in 1980 in Aberdeen, when he brought together a small group of people to campaign for services to be based in the community for people with a learning disability.

Edel Harris, Cornerstone Chief Executive, said: “It was a great honour to have such a high profile and hugely influential speaker such as John, talking at our second Nick Baxter Memorial Lecture.

“Much like John, Nick was an inspiration to so many and by holding these annual lectures, we want to ensure Nick's legacy and his commitment to ensuring that everyone in society had a chance to live a valued life won't be forgotten.

"We are very thankful to Robert Gordon University, who hosted the lecture and to our generous sponsors PwC and Ledingham Chalmers whose support made the event possible.

"Cornerstone is also extremely pleased to be working with Big Issue Invest. We have been discussing a joint project for some time and are absolutely delighted that they have agreed to invest a significant amount of money in support of Cornerstone.”

Edward Siegel, Director of Investments at Big Issue Invest, added: “We are very excited about this opportunity to support the further development of one of the country’s premier providers of social care.

“Big Issue Invest has known Cornerstone for a long time and, given our common values of self-help and people before profit, we have been looking for ways to work together more closely. This investment gives us that opportunity.”

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