Vendor David Martin is putting his best foot forward as he takes part in a charity challenge in support of The Big Issue Foundation.
The popular vendor, whose pitch is outside Tesco in Hammersmith, West London, is among the people hitting the streets for this year’s Big Step Challenge, starting on Monday 10 September.
To take part in the challenge, participants must walk at least 10,000 steps every day for a week – promoting health and wellbeing, as well as raising funds for The Big Issue Foundation. You can sponsor David here! http://bit.ly/VendorDave
“It is very important for vendors to stay as fit as possible,” says David. “If you can’t walk or can’t get to your pitch, there is no way to earn the money to pay your bills. I don’t claim benefits at the moment, so it is very important for me to stay healthy.
“I wouldn’t be able to survive without selling The Big Issue. So taking this challenge is about more than just keeping fit.”
David has been warming up for The Big Step Challenge by adding a few extra steps to his daily walks.
“At the moment I have slight infection in my feet, so it is going to be hard,” he says. “But the Big Issue Foundation have given me a pedometer and I have done 35,000 steps in the last few days. I am wearing comfortable sandals, so that will help.”
David has been selling The Big Issue since November 2010, at pitches in Victoria, Knightsbridge, High Street Kensington and now outside Tesco in Hammersmith. He has already had some donations for The Big Step Challenge, he says, from regular customers at his pitch alongside his online fundraising.
“I am so grateful for their support,” he says. “Without the generosity of the people around here and my customers, the world would be a much more difficult place. I hope we can meet my target of raising at least £100 for The Big Issue Foundation because the foundation have helped me so much in the past – including setting me up on a work placement at the Northern Trust Bank.”
As well as selling The Big Issue, David is also a keen artist. He has sold his colourful abstract works – which are also available through The Big Issue Shop – and exhibited some of his pieces at exhibitions in London.
David credits his work for The Big Issue with giving him the stability to pursue his artistic passions. “It really helps,” he says.
But from Monday 10 September, David will be putting down his art materials and pounding the pavement.
“I am adjusting my daily routine. I do three thousand steps to get to my pitch and I do quite a lot of steps while selling The Big Issue,” he says.
“But if I haven’t reached my target of 10,000 steps I will go for a walk along the river near Hammersmith.
“I actually want to do even more steps than 10,000 a day. I’ve set myself the target of doing over 100,000 during The Big Step Challenge week.”
And once he has reached his target? David’s going to keep on walking…
“The NHS recommend that everyone does 10,000 steps a day,” he says. “So I’m hoping this will help me change my habits a bit. I will keep using the pedometer so I can see how many steps I take every day once the challenge is finished.”
Written by Adrian Lobb