Vendor Stories

Mahesh's story

Until three years ago Mahesh was working for a blue chip company in south London.

He had a good salary and a home of his own.  However, force of circumstances saw his life change dramatically, which led to him being jobless and homeless.

“In less than 18 months, my life collapsed; hostels, friends sofas and rough sleeping became ‘home’ all too quickly,” Mahesh says. For many vendors at Christmas this is their reality. But Mahesh approached The Big Issue and The Big Issue Foundation and started to rebuild his life; he was determined to make a change and started working 10 hours a day, seven days a week.

Viv's story

Cracking a Smile

A meeting while sharing an apple juice proved how important a smile is.

Viv Askeland came to the UK from Norway in 1978. She married and had two children. All was fine, but then, 21 years into her marriage, she split with her husband and moved out of the family home, sleeping on sofas at friends’ houses.

Little did she know it but she was only at the top of a downward spiral and she ended up on the street begging. For two years she slept under Blackfriars Bridge.

James' story

I’ve been back with The Big Issue since May this year. Last time, I didn’t get as much out of selling it, but that’s because you get out what you put in. This time round though it has already begun to help me turn my life around; change my life. I was inspired by the new sales training to take things more seriously and do a more professional job of selling the magazine.

I carry the code of practice round with me at all times. This is because it could help resolve any disputes between other vendors, buskers or other members of the public or other persons working on the High Street. It says in the code not to get in to such disputes so sometimes you just have to walk away and go somewhere you can do the job to the best of your ability.

Share this page