Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am 45 and originally from Romania.
‘The magazine is good for me. It is my job. It is helping me.’
How long have you sold the magazine?
I have been selling Big Issue North for four years, but before that I sold The Big Issue in London. I used to work in construction. But then I had an accident on my moped and I broke my ankle very badly and now my leg is not very strong. Since then I have not been able to work in construction and now I sell the magazine to earn money. The magazine is good for me. It is my job. It is helping me and my family.
Do you like selling the magazine?
Yes, I do. There are good people in Harrogate. It is very nice. Sometimes when it is freezing people come to see me with cups of tea to help me keep warm. But sometimes when it is raining it is not so good.
Why did you leave Romania?
Romania is dead. It’s no good. I am Roma, a gypsy, and life is difficult in Romania. People treat us differently. There is no work for Roma people in Romania. If there was a job for me and my family I would go back to my country. But my country is broken.
How long have you lived in the UK?
We have lived here since 1999. We have lived in London, Manchester, Glasgow and Barnsley. I used to work on a farm with sheep in Romania, but I left when I was 18. I went to live in Germany and then in France.
Where are you living now?
I live in Leeds with my friend. It is very nice. We used to live in London but we moved because it is no good for my family. Too much for rent. I needed £1,500 a month for rent.
Tell us about your family.
I am married for 26 years. I have two daughters and three sons. My eldest daughter lives in London. She is 25 and she is married. My youngest son is 10.
What do you hope for in the future?
I do not know. We stay or we move. We might go to Canada or Australia if we can get visas. Only Jesus knows what will happen in the future.
What makes you happy?
Do you have a message for your customers?
Thank you to the people who buy the magazine. They help me. They are good people.