In September 1991, Bird launched The Big Issue with Gordon Roddick, co-founder of The Body Shop. In November 1995, he launched The Big Issue Foundation to further support vendors of The Big Issue. He is currently on the board of directors for The Big Issue Group, which incorporates The Big Issue, Big Issue Invest and The Big Issue Foundation.
The Big Issue magazine started as a London venture, but expanded with specific editions and services to other British cities, and then to other countries. Bird is a founder of the International Network of Street Papers, which now incorporates over 100 street papers, published in 34 countries, in 24 languages.
In 2001, with The Big Issue Group chairman, Nigel Kershaw OBE, Bird founded Big Issue Invest, a provider of finance for businesses, charities and NGOs with the aim of creating social change. It is the social investment arm of The Big Issue Group, and initially only dealt in loan finance. In 2009, Big Issue Invest launched a social investment fund, and has since invested more than £30 million in hundreds of social enterprises making a positive impact in communities across the UK.
Bird was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for “services to homeless people” in the 1995 Birthday Honours; and, in 2006, he received the Beacon Fellowship Prize for his originality in raising awareness of homelessness and his support of homeless communities worldwide. In 2015, he became a senior fellow of Ashokaand in 2017, he became a Social Enterprise UK fellow.
Bird was a Social Enterprise Ambassador. The scheme was run by Social Enterprise Coalition to promote awareness of social enterprise, a business model used to address a social or environmental needs. The programme was supported by the Office of the Third Sector, part of the UK Government Cabinet Office, and it ran between 2007 and 2010.
Bird was nominated for life peerage by the House of Lords Appointments Commission in October 2015 to become a non-party-political “people’s peer”. On 30 October, he was created Baron Bird, of Notting Hill in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, sitting as a Crossbencher. In his maiden speech he stated:
“Someone said to me, ‘How did you get into the House of Lords?’ and I said by lying, cheating and stealing.”
Bird’s work is strictly non-partisan and focuses on dismantling the root causes of poverty in the UK with an emphasis on education, early intervention and prevention. He also speaks on social enterprise, social mobility, literacy and the Arts.
He is a vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups on Poverty, Social Enterprise, Libraries and Water and leads debates on poverty, literacy and social business. Bird is also a member of the Lord Speaker’s Advisory Panel on Works of Art.
Taken from Wikipedia