WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

Big Issue sellers on the airwaves

Boogaloo hosts special shows

17 February, 2020 — By Helen Chapman

Norma Jean Taylor on the decks

A COMMUNITY radio station in Highgate is giving air-time to Big Issue vendors each week.

The project at Boogaloo Radio is based in the beer garden of the Boogaloo pub in Archway Road.

Norma Jean Taylor, 63, who began selling the Big Issue more than 10 years ago, played her first radio set at the Boogaloo last month.

She said: “Without music you can’t develop life. It’s a big part in life – music and songs. The playlist can help clear your mind and keep you going. “When I came in today I was more lively than usual. I enjoy it very much. I would love to have another go soon.”

Ms Taylor sells the Big Issue in Waterloo.

“I love London,” she added. “Lots of people recognise me and lots of people come up to me and talk to me. I sing to them sometimes, too.”

The project began last year and aims to bring in a new Big Issue vendor each week.

Jennifer Crothers, who set up the radio station, said: “We wanted to diversify and give less traditional communities or people who wouldn’t normally get these opportunities a chance. It’s not going to solve the crisis of homelessness but I think it’s about doing the best bit we can to help.”

Each newcomer gets hands-on training on how to use the studio before setting off on their set.

Ms Crothers added: “We’ve had about five people so far. One used to be a news anchor so took to it naturally. But other people might struggle with things to say so we have one of our producers on hand to help with anecdotes and facts about the music they’ve selected. Everyone has a story to tell about their attachment to music.”

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