Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m 56 and I’m originally from Manchester.
‘I’m trying to get money for a deposit and first month’s rent’
How long have you sold the magazine?
I’ve been selling the magazine since last October but I haven’t been in Cheadle Hulme long. I’m quite new there and am just settling in. It is good to get an out of town pitch. In the city centre there’s a lot of begging and every time I got to a pitch someone would turn up and plonk themselves down next to me in the rain, sitting on a piece of cardboard, and start harassing people for money. If I’m stood there trying to sell the magazine I can’t really compete with that.
Where are you living at the moment?
I spend a lot of time sleeping on a mate’s settee. One of the reasons that I’m selling the magazine is so that I can get enough money together to get a deposit and first month’s rent. That way I can move to an area of my own choice and get myself sorted.
What do you do in your spare time?
I like watching live football and I like outdoor pursuits like walking, cycling, camping and fishing. And I have been through rehab and now I go to Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous.
How did your drinking start?
I used to work on a lot of building sites and doing shopfitting and work away from home a lot. The shifts were long and when we finished work at night we used to go and have a few beers in the hotel or nearest pub. It’s dead easy to fall in to the trap of finishing work and being in the pub for a few beers after work every day, because you’re away from home and you’ve got loads of money because you are working loads of hours and there’s nothing else to do after work. So that’s how my drinking started really. It happened to a lot of people I know.
How did you become homeless?
I’ve also done window cleaning and contract cleaning. I had my own firm at one point in Blackpool doing cleaning services. But then around 2008, when there was the financial and banking crash, the firm I was doing a lot of work for stopped building houses and the work dried up. So I had nothing to do and I also had problems in my personal life. I started going to the pub every lunchtime, going back to my old ways. And things went down hill from there.
What makes you happy?
Being clean and sober.
What do you wish for?
Ideally I’d like to have my own flat and be working, and I would also like to get an allotment one day.
Do you have a message for your customers?
The people in Cheadle are really nice and friendly and I want to say thanks for all the nice chats that I have had since I have been there. Also I’d like to thank the people who have recently given me work doing odd jobs. I helped move furniture, did a small painting job and helped someone clean their garden. They are minor jobs but they helped me feel good.