I’ve been selling the magazine in Nottingham for a little while now. It’s been great. I had money troubles, built up a bit of debt, so things hadn’t been looking so good. But selling The Big Issue has helped me out at a tough time, put me back on my feet again. My customers are a friendly bunch – they make the job a real pleasure.
I grew up in Cambridge but moved to London as a young man to try my luck there. Over the years I moved around a lot and did various things. I was a van driver, a window cleaner and a shop worker. I was a vegetable chef for a while in Newcastle. I set up housing for refugees in Coventry. I’ve done loads of things. But I’ve struggled to keep anything going for too long – it’s tough when you’re homeless or living in hostels and you move from place to place.
I came to Nottingham about 15 years ago to visit a friend and I really liked the place. At the moment I’m involved in Streetwise Opera – a choir made up of homeless people and others who might be down on their luck. We meet every Tuesday to rehearse at Emmanuel House and we have a very good time.
Some of my favourites we do are Bright Eyes by Art Garfunkel and Giving It All Away by Roger Daltrey. Our most recent March show at Nottingham Trent University was a sell out and lots of fun. I’m an ambassador for getting more people involved – it’s amazing to see the difference music can make.
Becky Sayer, Nottingham Service Broker
“Jim is a regular Nottingham vendor that I’ve been working with for a little while now.
One of Jim’s big goals this year is to increase his magazine sales. As a first step, we are talking about applying to Vendor Support for photo ID which in turn will enable him to start using a digital card reader on his pitch. A lot of Jim’s customers no longer carry cash so being able to take contactless payments will provide a much-needed boost to sales.
Alongside selling The Big Issue, Jim is also a longstanding member of Streetwise Opera. I was delighted to attend their most recent ‘Opera in An Hour’ performance at Nottingham Trent University which was excellent, and I’d thoroughly recommend. Jim was playing a leading role and he was incredibly proud of both himself and the other performers.
Performing in the Streetwise Operas has hugely boosted Jim’s confidence as well as having a positive impact on his physical and mental health. Roll on the next show!