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Big Issue founder gives staff tour of House of Lords

A team of staff who refurbished the Big Issue’s Bristol offices have received a guided tour around the House of Lord’s from the magazine’s founder.

Seven staff were given an all-access tour of the historic house by Lord Bird as a thank for their work earlier in the summer transforming the homelessness magazine’s Bristol office. Over the course of a week the team installed a new kitchen, fitting new units in the main area and completely redecorated the office from top to bottom

Business Administration Apprentice Jasmine Newton said: “It was a really great day, we had so much fun. Lord Bird was brilliant; he told us about his life story, how he founded the Big Issue and became a Lord. He was so grateful for the work that we had done and took the time to speak to all of us and find out what we do at Merlin. We got to see around the House of Lords and the House of Commons and some of us even got to see Prime Minister’s Questions. It was such an interesting day.”

A cross-bench peer appointed to the House of Lords in October 2015, Lord Bird told stories of working in the café at parliament when he was on the run from the police, of vendors past and present, and his own experiences of homelessness and poverty.

Lord Bird said: “It was brilliant meeting the team from Merlin. Not only was I really pleased that these wonderful people had helped to covert our office down in Bristol but it was great to talk to the young people about their passion for their work and the opportunities that working at Merlin has given them.

He added: “It was a golden hour, I think we all thoroughly enjoyed it.”

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