Gavin and his dog Niche are well known faces in Sheffield City Centre.
Gavin sells the magazine on his pitch outside Marks and Spencer during the morning, but what many people won’t realise is that after he finishes, he now has a place of his own to go back to.
For the first time in years, Gavin and Niche don’t have to kill time waiting for the day to end so they can find a quiet place to sleep in a doorway, as the pair now have fixed accommodation.
At Christmas we asked a number of vendors what their aspirations were for this year, Gavin wanted a proper place to stay for him and Niche. Through the Archer Project – a homeless organisation based in Sheffield Cathedral – Gavin was able to get in touch with a private landlord who was happy to rent to someone with a dog.
“It was strange at first, living under a roof, but I’ve got used to it now. I had to get used to everything changing, sleep patterns are all different.
“It is good having a place of my own, and I’m relieved about getting something for Niche. He loves having a new place; he sleeps in my bed under the quilt! Niche is the one who keeps me going every day.”
Having spent years sleeping rough on and off Gavin and Niche are well used to having broken sleep, and only sleeping as few hours a night.
“When you’re on the street you’re awake almost all the time, it’s just kips, just napping really. Any noise and you’re awake because you don’t know who’s there. You come across all sorts on the streets.
“I’ve been in plenty of hostels, but I don’t like them it’s not the same as having your own place, it’s a bit intimidating with people being idiots and no communication. Life is much better now I’m in my own place.”
Gavin recently took part in a sponsored sleep out to raise money for the Archer Project, who work closely with the Big Issue in the North Sheffield, helping homeless people with advice, support, hot meals and washing.
A group of 45 people spent the night finding out exactly what it is like to be under the stars over night.
Gavin said: “It was great all those people wanted to do that for the homeless.”
And the volunteer rough sleepers were impressed with Gavin too. One of the staff members from the Archer Project who joined in the sleep out said: “
“I was so impressed with Gavin in how he was concerned over our welfare all night. He has left a lasting impression on me that I will never forget.”