Craig, Boots, Hull

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m 40 and from Hull, born and bred. 

What’s Hull like?
It’s dying a bit now. It was the City of Culture a couple of years ago, but it feels like that has been and gone. There are shops closing in central Hull and some main streets are just dead now. It is a good community though. 

How long have you been selling Big Issue North for?
For about two or three months now, so I am just getting used to the game, building up my pitch. It’s going OK. It was tedious to start with, but I’m getting there. 

Do you enjoy it?
I do. I’m out socialising with people now. I have isolated myself a lot in the past. I have had a bad couple of years really, but I’m on the way up now.

Where are you living at the moment?
I’m living in a hostel. It’s all right. I’ve got my own room. It’s like a self-contained flat really. It could be a lot worse. 

‘I wanted better for myself. I have three kids I need to provide for’

How did you end up there?
I was living on the streets after I split up from my wife three years ago. I was in and out of prison for a couple of years after that and into drugs. But I am clean now, thank god. It was a bit of hard work, it took me a while, but I’m getting there. It’s hard getting clean, staying clean. But I got fed up of living the life of an addict every day. I had had enough. I wanted better for myself and I have three kids who I need to provide for. I don’t see them right now, but that will change one day. 

What work have you done in the past?
I’m a joiner by trade. I worked for the city council for five years when I was younger. And then I met my wife, got married, settled down and stayed at home as a house husband for 10 years. While my wife went to work, I stayed at home and looked after the kids. So it was a bit of a shock when we split up. It was a big loss. 

What do you hope for in the future?
To settle down again, with my own place. To have contact with my kids again – that’s the main thing. My eldest was 18 last month. I see him now and again in town. And I don’t really talk to my own family much, my mum and dad. I need to sort that out. That’s another goal. Now I’m clean I hope they will welcome me back into the family. I lost contact when I was using. I didn’t want to be around them, didn’t want them to see me in that state. 

What makes you happy?
Life, really. I was very glum last year. I made a couple of suicide attempts. It just felt like there was no hope. But then I moved into the hostel I am in now and I have sorted myself out since I have been there. It’s been a step in the right direction. At the end of the day you get out what you put in to life. I have a bit of hope now that I will get back to where I used to be.

Do you have a message for your customers?
Thanks – and please support your local vendor! 

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