Vendor Stories

Eftenoiu Paun’s Story

I’m lucky enough to have a special new pitch inside New Street station, arranged with Network Rail. It’s a great place to sell the magazine, with so many people coming and going. It must be one of the busiest places in the country, but there is still time to have nice little talks with some of my customers.

Birmingham is a great place, full of impressive buildings. I used to sell the magazine at the Paradise Forum, close to where the big new library was built. I’ve been back to go inside the library – it’s a very grand place. I like it a lot. I’ve always liked libraries, ever since I was a boy back in Romania.

Ken Swain’s Story

Ken started vending in Birmingham in February 2015. He is a returning vendor. In October 2016 he was featured in the My Pitch column in The Big Issue:

“At the moment I’m living on a derelict boat in Bedworth that I’m doing up. I’ve got a sleeping bag on there, and a kettle. Each day selling the magazine I have to make £10.30 – to cover my train fare and the £20 a week it costs for mooring. I’m hoping to make enough money to get a little log burner. That should make it just about warm enough to keep the condensation out and make it viable as my permanent home.

Paul Logan's Story

I was born here in England but my family moved to Canada when I was young. I was there for about 30 years, before I moved to London in the mid-’90s.

There are a million reasons people become homeless. For me it was quite complicated, one thing after another in quick succession. In a short time I went from having a job and a flat to sleeping in a churchyard and being isolated from family who I was too embarrassed to ask for help.

Paul's Story

My name is Paul, I’ve been a Big Issue vendor for about two years now. My usual pitch is in Bristol, at Wine Street and Corn Street. It’s a busy area with loads of passers-by because of the market down Corn Street. It’s a farmers’ market on a Wednesday and a flea market on a Friday and Saturday and it brings a lot more people down the street. The people have been friendly, I consider myself a good people’s person who makes friends easily and a good salesman. I’ve got a lot of regular customers.

I’m from the Midlands originally. I’d been working in a factory there but I was made redundant and joint with some personal problems became homeless not long after that. Before I came to Bristol, I had travelled to Brighton the English seaside resort town to get away from it all. I sold the magazine there for about six months but it didn’t go as well there as I had hoped.

Rose’s story

I have been selling The Big Issue in Muswell Hill for about seven years. There are a lot of nice people around here and it has a nice villagey feeling. I get all the gossip and I am a bit of a social worker too.

This year I decided to get involved in The Big Knitathon, and I’ve been spreading the word on a website I use called Ravelry.

Marc Matthew’s story

My name is Marc. I started selling The Big Issue fifteen years ago.

Devizes is a small market town dead in the centre of Wiltshire, 25 miles from Stonehenge. It’s only a small town but there are a lot of things to do. We’ve got canals, big locks, two marinas, the millennium White Horse, and up at Roundway Hill there’s information about the Civil War, the battle that took place there and Oliver’s Castle.

June Fullerton’s story

My name is Jane Fullerton, I’m 59 and I’ve been a Big Issue vendor since November 2011. I first heard about The Big Issue when John Bird was talking about it on the radio. My husband had passed away a year earlier, I was living on my own, I was unemployed, and I thought: do I or don’t I? I decided to go for it, and I haven’t looked back since.

Martin Clarkson’s Story

I’ve been selling the magazine in the Clifton area for the past few years now. It’s a really nice part of the city – lots of big houses. Before than I sold the mag in Plymouth and Cardiff – I moved around quite a lot during my time sleeping rough on the streets.

Allan’s Story

I’ve been selling the magazine in Inverness for the past few years. I’ve worked really hard to build up the pitch and a loyal clientele. It’s all about communicating with people and building a rapport, and I really have to thank my customers for supporting me. I’ve had some mental health problems to try to overcome, and selling The Big Issue has been a big stabilizing influence on my life.

Share this page