Gary, City Centre, Sheffield

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m originally from Barnsley and I’m 49 this year. I’ve sold the magazine before, a few years ago, but I have been doing this again since Christmas. It’s been a bit quiet after Christmas, but hopefully it will pick up again.

“I’ve just got off the streets and into a place.”

How is life at the moment?
It’s a bit bleak. But you know, onwards and upwards. I’ve just got off the streets and into a place. There’s not much in it like, but I’m getting there. I was on the streets for about six months here in Sheffield. Obviously it was not very good. Last year was a bit rubbish so I hope this year is a bit better. I’ll see if I can get myself sorted. 

How did you end up on the streets?
I had problems with paying my rent. I was in private rented accommodation and my landlord wouldn’t take housing benefits. Getting my own place was brilliant. I didn’t think it would be that quick getting back in somewhere. The council did a good job finding me somewhere to live and I take my hat off to them for that. The outreach team really helped me out and got me straight, got me into a bed and breakfast for a few weeks and then into my own place. 

What work have you done in the past?
I used to work on building sites a lot but I got made redundant. I also had a job in a café in Sheffield, but that shut down. I think for now I’ll just keep selling the magazine and see what happens. 

Do you enjoy selling the magazine?
Yeah I like it. Selling the magazine is better than begging. 

Do beggars make more money than Big Issue North sellers?
Yes. People walk past me all the time and then go and give the money to a beggar nearby. That’s just the way it is.

What do you make of what’s happening in politics at the moment?
It’s an absolute shambles. This whole Brexit thing is a joke. I’ve never voted in my life and I’m proud of that. I mean who would vote for this lot? They’re rubbish. I think things are going to get worse before they get better but let’s wait and see I suppose. 

What do you do in your spare time?
Football. Sheffield Wednesday. And that’s about it. I’ve always been a Wednesday supporter, ever since I was a kid.

Do you have a message for your customers?
Carry on supporting your local vendor and keep buying it.

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