Where: 402 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PZ
With:John Bird, Social Entrepreneur (founder of The Big Issue)
John Bird MBE is the founder of the Big Issue, probably the biggest social business in the world. His life’s extraordinary journey has included spells as a thief, prison inmate, artist and road sweeper.
John was born into poverty to a London-Irish family in the slums of Paddington, just after the Second World War. His family broke up when he was seven and he was brought up in care. Aged eighteen he had already experienced homelessness, committed crime and spent time in prison. He attended Chelsea School of Art, drifted in and out of trouble, spent time in Paris and got involved in revolutionary politics prior to reinventing himself as a businessman in the 1980s.
John launched The Big Issue in 1991 with the help of Gordon Roddick, in response to the growing number of rough sleepers on the streets of London. They believed that the key to solving the problem of homelessness lay in helping people to help themselves, and were therefore determined to offer a legitimate alternative to begging. In the course of 20 years the Big Issue has sold 50 million copies and given 15000 people the tools to help themselves. It has inspired hundreds of imitation enterprises across the world.
John was awarded his MBE in 1995 for service to the homeless.
In an interactive interview with a member of the Dialogue Society staff John Bird will explore his journey to success, discussing the challenges that he faced, the inspiration, attitudes and actions that helped him overcome these and his advice to participants at the start of their journeys. A Q&A session will follow the interview, and participants, staff and speakers will have time to interact informally over refreshments.
The format of the session will be as follows:
- 6.30pm: Introduction from a Dialogue Society member of staff
- 6.40pm: Interview with speaker
- 7.20pm: Question and answer session
- 7.50pm: Closing remarks
- 7.55pm: Refreshments
About the Success School
The Dialogue Society Success School is a six-week programme of weekly evening seminars intended to help inspire, encourage and equip young people to aspire to and work towards success.
Participants will hear the inspirational stories of a range of successful professionals in a friendly and interactive environment (4 sessions). In addition, experts from performance coaching and self-help backgrounds will provide them with practical guidance on positive thinking and on setting and achieving manageable goals from (2 sessions). The School will establish an ongoing network through which participants, staff and speakers can share ideas and opportunities. Click here for further information and poster.
Who’s it For?
The School is primarily intended for young people of 16-21 years of age, and the Dialogue Society will initially advertise in North London. We hope to welcome participants from a range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Rear Admiral Amjad Hussain
Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty
Serena Bradshaw, Performance Coach
Bonus Session at Arsenal FC
Cherie Blair (Cherie Booth QC), Barrister