So you’ve recently changed pitches and started selling in Southport?
That’s right. I was selling outside Liverpool Lime Street station but have just moved pitches. I’m hoping to build up a good rapport here with my new customers.
Why did you start selling the magazine?
I was sleeping in Sisters of Mercy, which is a night shelter in Liverpool, and I knew someone who started selling the mag. I thought, I could do that. It’s a good way of making a regular income. I stopped selling for a while
when I got a job in a nightclub, but then the owner sold the business and I was back to square one.
How did you end up in the shelter?
Basically a relationship breakdown. I moved up to Liverpool with my girlfriend who was at university here. Then that relationship broke down and she went back to her mum and dad’s. My mum passed away 13 years ago and I have never met my dad. I didn’t have anyone to turn to really.
Where are you staying now?
I’ve been staying in a hostel but am about to move into my own independent flat. Living in a hostel isn’t easy. It’s a chaotic environment. You have your own room but there are people playing music all the time and people keeping their telly on really loud all night. It’s hard to sleep there. I’m really looking forward to moving on.
What would you like people to know about homelessness?
That no matter how good things are, anything can change your circumstances. I’ve met people who have owned their own business and ended up homeless. It can happen to anyone, especially nowadays with what’s going on. I wish people’s perception of Big Issue North sellers would change, but that’s up to them. I’d say out of 100 people I ask to buy the magazine about 85 per cent just look at me like I’m something they’ve stepped in, or they don’t even acknowledge me. It can be a bit disheartening. I’m clean, tidy, respectable, always polite – a simple no would be fine. Just that acknowledgement is important.
What do you do in your spare time?
I go to the gym about four times a week because I want to stay fit and healthy and I like walking. I also like reading. I read thrillers and science fiction. I’m also into mountain climbing and expeditions and I read books about that.
What are your hopes for the future?
I’d like to have a permanent job. I’d like to maybe do something in sales because I’m doing that now, selling the magazine.
Have you got a message for your customers?
Thank you all for supporting me and for making my day go a lot happier when you have a good chat to me.
Interview: Christian Lisseman