On the right track – Ken’s new job

A designated pitch on a station concourse provides a vendor with a chance to sell the magazine in an area of consistently high footfall, as well as offering a more sheltered and comfortable working environment. The Big Issue Foundation works with around 2,000 vendors per year. We work with vendors who face deep personal crisis. A prime and secure pitch at Network Rail acknowledges vendors’ dedication to their personal micro businesses. Big Issue vendors are visible and attentive in day to day station life and offer a warm welcome and an enhanced customer service experience to people arriving in the city of Birmingham.

Ken was chosen to be the first vendor at Birmingham New Street due to how keen he is to look for new opportunities and to develop his personal progress. He demonstrated an aptitude for being successful in his role as a vendor. The pitch so far has been of great benefit and we are extremely pleased that staff and commuters of New Street Station chose to support Ken to be financially and socially included.

Ken Swain, Dec 2016
I had been selling in Birmingham for four months in the city centre on the high-street. I was asked to vend on the Network Rail pitch in Birmingham due to my ability for selling and customer service skills. Since starting the new pitch things have gone really well for me. I have made extra sales and also new customers. By earning an additional income I am able to make sure the boat that I live on is shipshape and I am looking forward to continuing to build on the relationships I am making on the pitch. A couple of weeks ago I was on BBC WM talking about my experiences of homelessness and what it is like to be a Big Issue vendor; this was due to being noticed by local reporters. I am really proud of how things are going, 2017 looks to be a good year for me and I hope I can keep going in the direction I am in. 

The great news is at the end of December Ken was recruited by a local construction company to join a team of workers in the Redditch area. Ken had previous experience of working in construction and whilst vending on the Network Rail pitch he made fresh employment contacts which enabled him to take up a job which suited his skills and abilities. We have kept in touch with Ken. He said things are going well for him and that he is enjoying his new employment within the building trade.

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