Vendor Stories

Andre Rostant’s Story

Vendor André has secured valuable experience at a law firm but wants to start a business that will really bake something of his life.

My name is André. I have sold The Big Issue in Covent Garden and Soho for six years, since a domestic crisis suddenly caused me to lose a good, well-paid job, then a home.

Istvan Kakas’s Story

We are very sad to report that beloved Bath seller, Istvan Kakas, who once received an award from the city mayor for his life-saving heroism, has died following a battle with leukaemia.

The 52-year-old seller lost his life at Bath’s Dorothy House Hospice on Tuesday afternoon after a battle with leukaemia. Istvan was a much-loved and well-known figure on his pitch at Halfpenny Bridge in Widcombe, Bath.

Robin Fabian's Story

Bristol vendor Robin, saw his sales skyrocket after investing £30 on a contactless card payment reader and the story of his ingenuity has reached more than 230 million people. Robin completed numerous TV and radio interviews with aplomb; and sparked other vendors to became interested too.

Paul Snape's Story

I’m originally from Wigan and I was working as a builder when they took on a project up in Newcastle in 1997. I wasn’t able to move up there and I lost my job and it all spiralled from there. I was rough sleeping and in the YMCA when a Big Issue staff member came in. I went down with him to the office and that led to me selling the magazine. I’ve been selling on and off since 1998 in Ipswich, Canterbury and Wales – I’ve moved about a bit because I fancied a bit of a change now and again – but I’m currently on the best pitch in Nottingham. There is a ton of footfall because a lot of people go to the shops and I have a lot of regular customers.

Julie Cherry's Story

My name is Julie and I started selling the Big Issue in Bournemouth about 15 months ago. But that is not where my story begins. I’m originally from Kent and enjoyed growing up there with my family. But like so many others, I saw the bright lights of London and that’s where my adventures began. I started working as an office junior at a law firm and I loved it. I was on a career path and over the next few years I continued to progress and gain better jobs at more prestigious places of work.

Kevin Headley's Story

We were deeply saddened to hear of the sudden passing of much loved Big Issue vendor Kevin Headley. The 52-year-old who sold the magazine outside Hackey Wick overground station for many years died on 5th May following a suspected heart attack.

Donato Barbieri's story

Donato is originally from Turin, Italy. He has previously lived in the UK and Australia and returned back to the UK several years ago. Since 2016, he has been a Big Issue vendor, originally working on his pitch at Victoria Station before moving to Angel a month ago.

Garry Buchan’s Story

My name is Garry Buchan and because of you I’ve begun rebuilding my life.

I started selling the magazine in Bristol last October. Things were not going great for me, but The Big Issue gave me a way of earning money and working towards something better. I sell in a nice part of town and I work hard – I’m smashing all my own selling targets.

I’m from the north-east of Scotland and I had been working for a few years as a foreman on construction sites in Aberdeenshire. I was working for one of the big private builders, so we’d build new homes and also do a small proportion of lower-cost homes for the housing association.

Bill’s Story

Back in late 2015, Bill Webb, a well known vendor in Bournemouth, shared his story. A lot has happened for Bill over the last year and below we reflect on his journey, which he will be speaking about at The Big London Night Walk on Friday 3rd March 2017.

Last year, Bill was evicted from his home in Boscombe as the owners decided to sell the property. Bill managed to find another flat to live in, but circumstances meant that Bill had to also leave this property and live in his tent for two months.

Stuart B's Story

Stuart began selling The Big Issue in September 2017 and quickly began building up his sales and regular customers at Green Park (Bath). He was eager to engage with the support on offer and through the course of reviews and conversations, we were able to identify key areas where Stuart could take steps forward. Over the next few months, The Big Issue Foundation was able to help him move toward opening a bank account and registering with a GP, to apply for a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and to explore his longer-term aspiration to become a mentor for other homeless people.

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