The Sheffield Big Issue in the North office has a new volunteer, Dave Rourke, who is working to engage vendors and promote service user involvement within the organisation. Dave used to be a vendor in Bath around four years ago, and so is ideally placed to understand the issues vendors face.
He’s already come up with some great ideas to encourage vendors to contribute to how the service is run. “I’m helping to set up a new vendor forum at the moment,” said Dave. “It’s not easy for vendors to attend things like forums. Their often chaotic lifestyles mean that remembering and being able to turn up for a meeting like this is difficult. I’m trying to get them involved so that they can raise the issues and discuss what’s important to them.”
Dave got involved in volunteering at the Sheffield office when his daughter, whom he cares for alone, started school and he was able to start thinking about returning to work. “I’d like to become a drugs counsellor or something like that, working with people with addictions,” he said. “The experience and knowledge I have from being a vendor in the past helps me in my role in The Big Issue in the North office. It’s important to understand the problems vendors face, such as the chaotic lives they can live.”
“Selling The Big Issue in the North provides people with much needed structure. It’s good for people. I started selling it when I’d just come out of prison and I needed to get some structure backin my life. When they come in the sales office, it doesn’t matter what else is going on, they are at work, and they are getting paid to work.”