Last year, Big Issue vendor Garry trekked 190 miles to fundraise for The Big Issue Foundation and this year he is taking on an even bigger challenge! Originally from the north-east of Scotland, Garry was working for several years as a foreman on construction sites in Aberdeenshire. Sadly, he lost his job and fell into a downward spiral that eventually led to him sleeping rough. He turned to The Big Issue so he could earn an income and turn things around.
A strong work ethic ensured Garry was able to make the most of selling The Big Issue. Last June, his good sales and positive attitude were rewarded when he was selected to sell the magazine at Glastonbury Festival. Selling at the iconic music event provided a big footfall and helped Garry to keep moving in the right direction by selling more Big Issues. Alongside selling the magazine, Garry has been actively engaged with The Big Issue Foundation.
Our Service Brokers in Bristol helped Garry to get a copy of his birth certificate so he could reactivate his bank account. With somewhere safe to store his income he was able to accept part-time employment at the Bristol Post handing out newspapers. This was a great opportunity for Garry to build his CV and employability skills.
Garry has also attended a First Aid course with the British Red Cross and is now a qualified first aider. This came in useful when a Mini collided with a moped near his Big Issue pitch. Gary used his rucksack to fill the gap between the moped and the car, preventing the victim from any further back injury.
“I saw that there was a gap between the car and the moped so I was scared of the woman suffering a back injury. My rucksack was big enough to fill the gap so I put it under the woman to support her while another homeless man helped keep her neck still until the emergency services arrived.”
To show his appreciation for the hand up provided to him by The Big Issue and The Big Issue Foundation, Garry walked the West Highland Way and the Great Glen Way in Scotland – a 190-mile trek - to raise money for The Big Issue Foundation last year.
Armed with a pair of walking boots donated by Mountain Warehouse, Garry raised an incredible £495 so that other vendors can be supported to access vital services. This year, Garry doesn’t just want to trek Scotland. He plans to traverse the whole of Great Britain by walking from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
The trek will begin in August at Land's End, the extreme south-westerly point of Great Britain, in western Cornwall, and will end 1,500 miles later at the infamous John O'Groats, traditionally acknowledged as the most northern point of mainland Scotland.
He said: “It is clear to me homelessness is on the rise. The support The Big Issue Foundation has given me and many others is so important and I want to do something that helps people.”
Garry’s trek will begin on Tuesday 31st July and he hopes to arrive by Tuesday 9th October. You can sponsor Garry by visiting: www.bit.ly/GarryBuchan2018