Jozef,
Liverpool One

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m 32 and I am from Slovakia. I have lived in the UK for more than five years now.

Why did you come to the UK?
To start a new life. I see my future here. Life in Slovakia was very difficult for everybody.

‘I like to go to the library. I read novels and I read in English’

How long have you sold Big Issue North for?
About five months now. My problem is I don’t have a passport or any identification and so I cannot get a proper job. This is the only job I can get, the only thing that I can do – and I cannot get any help or support from anyone else. This is the only way to make any money.

What hope do you have of getting some ID?
I am trying to get ID at the moment, but for this year I am just surviving by selling the magazine. It is difficult to get ID sorted. The staff in the Big Issue North office do what they can but some things they cannot help with. I have spoken to the Slovakian Embassy but everything takes a very long time.

Do you like selling the magazine?
I do enjoy selling the magazine. I try to be friendly and that’s it. I try to make this my job for now. I see very friendly people here in Liverpool. They come to me buying the magazine and we have a little talk and seeing them is very nice. I don’t have many friends and I don’t see a lot of people normally, so seeing people here makes a difference.

Where are you living at the moment?
I have a flat on my own, which is good, but life is very difficult right now.

What do you do in your spare time?
I really like reading books. I like to go to the library. I read novels and I read in English.

What makes you happy?
I try to be happy but I am not. I miss my family so much. I have not seen my mother for more than five years now. I speak to her on the phone, but it’s very different to see someone face to face and it is especially difficult at Christmas time. Most of my days are very difficult. I try to be positive, but it’s not easy.

What are your hopes for 2018?
Of course I want to get my ID sorted and get a new job. I was working on a farm in Slovakia and I have had different jobs over here, like working in factories. I hope next year brings some special news and things will get sorted out. But I will not forget the help Big Issue North has given me. I can say if I was not doing this I would be somewhere on the street.

Do you have a message for your customers?
Thank for you supporting me. If you buy the magazine, it makes me happy and it saves my day.

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