Peter, Liverpool City Centre

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m 55 years old. I was born in Anfield but I grew up in Croxteth. My mum split up from my father and I ended up moving with her.

‘Things are different now. I feel like I’m part of a family again’

What was your childhood like?
My childhood was pretty good, I ended up in care but my childhood was good. It was when I was a teenager that things went wrong. It was down to me really – staying off school, pinching cars, shoplifting. I don’t know why really – maybe because I didn’t have a father figure but I really don’t know. I was about 14 when I was taken into care and I went to various different places but ended up in an approved school. It wasn’t a bad place. I can survive in the system, and it could be quite entertaining. I suppose it was just a hurdle you had to get over. Looking back at it now, I know it’s affected me. When you’re young you don’t think it matters, but when you get older you realise.

Have you sold Big Issue North before?
I sold the magazine for about 10 years or something, but I stopped three or four years ago. Things went a bit wrong for me, and I went on a downward spiral. Now I’m trying to get myself back up. 

Do you have any family?
I’ve got a son and a daughter, and two grandkids. I always wanted them to have stable lives but their mum died when they were young. My daughter was 18 months and my son was three. My wife had problems with alcohol and it took its toll on her body. I had my kids for a few years on my own but then I didn’t see them for 12 years. 

How’s life now?
Things are different now. I see my kids and my grandkids. I was at my mum’s yesterday doing some gardening and getting my Sunday dinner. I feel like I am part of a family again.

Where do you live?
I was on the street for a few years but I’ve got a flat now. The place I am in is not very nice. There have been guns found in the block, a lot of trouble. I don’t want to be there. The Big Issue North office is trying to help me get into supported housing. 

What have you learnt in life?
Life is short and don’t take things for granted.

What are your hopes for the future?
Just to try and look after myself properly and be there for my kids and my grandkids, and to spend what time I can with my mother as well.

What do you do in your spare time?
Play games, visit my kids, listen to music. I like all kinds of music. I’ve seen a lot of bands live. I lived in London in the 1980s and I went to everything, all the gigs. I remember when Glastonbury was only £30 to get in. You’re lucky to get a ticket these days. 

Do you enjoy selling the magazine?
I do enjoy selling the magazine, I like meeting people, talking to them and trying to make them laugh. Selling the magazine helps because you are passing the time. At the end of the day, I’m knackered so I’m happy to just go home and watch a bit of telly and go to sleep. 

Do you have a message for your customers?
I just want to thank them for supporting the magazine, it does help people. Not just to make money and to get by, but help in a lot of different ways, like housing and health. The staff really look after you. 

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