Old Swan, Liverpool

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am 27 years old. I am from Romania originally. I came to England in 2012.

‘England is home. I love it here. I work here. I pay tax here.’

What was your childhood like?
It was very poor. My parents had little money and six children. Sometimes they had to go without food for us. I had to work when I was 13 years old. I had to work every day because my dad was very old.

What is Romania like?
It’s a nice place, my country, very beautiful, but there are problems with money there. In one week you can only earn a little money.

Do you like selling Big Issue North?
Yes, I like selling it. It helps me. I find it hard to find other work because my English is not so good and I cannot read English. I didn’t learn English at school in Romania. I did not go to school. I went to one class – that’s it – because I didn’t like school. I have learnt my English while living here.

What is Liverpool like?
I have nice customers on my pitch. Fantastic people. But in Liverpool city there are lots of homeless problems. I know some people spend money on drugs and this is not good. Not nice. And sometimes people can be racist. There are some people who come to me on my pitch. They come and shout at me. They say I should not be there.

What other jobs have you done?
I have worked in lots of jobs – cleaner, builder, anything. Now I work in two jobs. I sell magazines and afterwards I clean houses. I don’t get any benefits. I am proud to work. If you need something you should go to work.

You like football, don’t you?
I like football a lot. A lot. I have always played football since I was a little boy. It keeps me fit and strong. I play for Liverpool Homeless FC. I am very fast on the pitch. One day I would love to play football for a professional team. Football is my everything.

Which team do you support?
I’m a Liverpool fan. I get some free tickets to go and see them. And I like Bayern Munich. They are a good team.

Are you worried about Brexit?
England is home for me. I love it here. I have been here for seven years. I work here. I pay tax here. I don’t think there will be a problem for me to stay here.

Where are you staying at the moment?
I sleep at a friend’s house. It’s too much money to have my own place.

What else do you do in your spare time?
I like TV and watching films. I like Van Damme and Arnold Schwarzenegger films.

Weren’t you also a fashion model once?
Yes. A fashion designer called Ben Mak asked me to model his clothes for him. I was in a photo shoot and in the newspapers.

Do you have a message for your customers?
Thank you so much for buying the magazine.

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