Simon Shares His Story

For many, September is a time for change and new challenges. For one vendor, new challenges are becoming a regular occurrence.

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Simon, who sells the magazine in Harrogate, North Yorkshire was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in the last year, and is all too aware of the demands that change and challenge can bring. We had a chat with Simon to see how his diagnosis has affected him and what life is now like selling the magazine.

Simon said: “I used to stand up all day long, but these days, I have to sit down on a stool that I have on my pitch. It’s all new to me, and I’m finding things out about it every day, finding my body’s limits. My body just doesn’t do what I want it to and it gets me really frustrated.

“People have responded well apart from the odd kids who snigger and think that I’m drunk, especially when I’m walking. It used to annoy me, but I’m used to it now– it’s their problem not mine.”

Staff at our Leeds of office have been working to make life as easy as possible for Simon. From signposting and liaising with housing support workers to making suitable arrangements, Simon now accepts support from a number of different places, after years of declining any help on offer.

“Staff at the of office have been really helpful. At the moment I’m living in a first floor flat and I have to drag myself up the stairs using the banisters. The people in the of office are helping me to get a ground floor flat.”

Since Simon chose to share his story through Big Issue North, he has been flooded with messages of support from those who know him as a permanent fixture in Harrogate.

One reader said: “You’re such a great guy – always a smile for everyone. You always make my trip into town more enjoyable. I always admire your tenacity and hard work. Sending you lots of well wishes. Don’t give up.”

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Big Issue North during the Coronavirus pandemic

We have taken the difficult decision to tell our vendors that they cannot sell Big Issue North on the streets during the Coronavirus pandemic, for the safety of the public and themselves.

This is a serious emergency for our vendors, and they need your help. There are three things you can do right now to help them get through this impossibly tough period.

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