John Bird is the founder and editor of The Big Issue, a news and current affairs magazine that was launched in 1991. The magazine appeals to all ages, and has advice on jobs, education, training health care and mental health. It is sold on the street by homeless vendors, who buy the magazine at a wholesale rate and sell it, allowing them to help themselves.
The Big Issue is an alternative to charity because it's founders believe that grant founded responses to social problems can encourage dependency and a sense of helplessness of those in need.
Having first hand experiences John has inspired many with his work and outstanding transformation.
John was born into poverty in slum ridden Notting Hill, London, just after World War 2, he became homeless at the age of five, was in an Orphanage between ages five and seven. From age ten and onwards he was committing crimes and in his twenties he served several prison sentences. He began to fail in all areas of his life.
At age forty five he was given the chance to make a change, his many life experiences allowed him to start the production of The Big Issue.
John has been involved in publishing and writing all of his working life. Starting off as a printer and writer he turned to publishing with his magazine - Art Perspectives in 1975. In 1985 he won an Arts Council award for writing - Dreams On A Dancehall Floor and has had numerous plays performed across the UK, amoung these are Dickens - The Social Mobile Cat and Bill's Wolf Burt, co-authored with his son, then aged six.
John was later awarded the MBE for services to homeless people by her Majesty the queen in June 1995; he is a fellow of John Moors University, Liverpool, a visiting Professor at Lincoln University and a Doctor of letters at Oxford Brookes.
In 2003 he was chosen by the Queen as one of the most important pioneers in her Majesty’s Reign. In 2004 he received a scroll of excellence for his international work in Poverty, presented by the President of Kenya. In the same year he won a public vote by BBC London as London's living Legend. He is living proof that nothing is impossible and his aim is to show others the way to empowerment.
John Bird - Some Luck is a heart rendening autobiography, where John tells his story from birth up to the launch of The Big Issue.
Change your life in seven steps is another of his published work.