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The Big Life group

Organisation Summary

Business Sector:Cross sector

Business Activities:Health and Wellbeing, Skills and Employment, Children and Families

Business Location:North of England

Chief Executive:Fay Selvan



Legal structure:Group: Companies Limited by Guarantee

The Big Life group

The Big Life group is in the business of changing lives; fighting inequality by working with people and places to create opportunities and inspire change.

There might be all sorts of things stopping people from getting where they want to be. People juggle their health, work, relationships and much more besides. People with multiple issues often face the biggest challenge, as the number and severity of issues directly affects their ability to make and sustain positive changes. When one thing goes wrong it can feel overwhelming and impact on everything.

That’s why Big Life services work with people on all areas of their life and help them with the things that matter most to them first, working with them to remove all the obstacles to changing their life for the better. They help people see the skills and support they already have so they can build on it. This is known as working in the Big Life Way. The businesses within the group are:

  • Big Life Company
  • Big Life Centres
  • Big Issue North Trust
  • Self Help Services
  • Big Life Schools

E3M Member

The Big Life group

Name:Fay Selvan

Title :Chief Executive

Fay Selvan started working as a social entrepreneur in 1991 and established The Big Life group in 2002. The group operates across the north of England, has a turnover of circa £20m and employs over 500 staff.

The Big Life group aims to fight inequality by working with people and places to create opportunities and inspire change. Including well-known brands such as Big Issue North, it works in the fields of Health and Wellbeing, Children and Families, Employment and Training. Fay won the Social Enterprise Leader England Award in 2011. She has an Honours degree from Sussex University and an MSc in Strategic Leadership from Salford University.

Key appointments:
• CEO of the Big Life group (1991 to present)
• Chair of Jigsaw Housing Group (2018 to present)
• Chair of International Network of Street Papers (2014 to present)
• Chair Fair Housing Futures Partnership Board

Previous appointments:
• Non Executive Director of CAFCASS Children and Families Court Advisory Service (2012 to 2020)
• Executive Sponsor for the Manchester, Salford and Trafford Health Action Zone (1999 to 2001)
• Chair of Trafford North Primary Care Trust (2001 to 2006)
• Chair of Trafford Healthcare Trust (2006 to 2012)
• Commissioner on the Channel 4 Street Weapons Commission (2010)
• Chair of New Charter Housing Group (2014-2018)