Rebecca, Holt Park, Leeds

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How long have you sold Big Issue North for?
I’ve been at Holt Park for nearly two years and before that I sold somewhere else for about a year. They are nice people who come to my pitch but it’s hard work.

‘I like selling the magazine. I need shopping for my children’

Do you have any family?
I am one of eight children. I’m the eldest. My mum and dad are separated and my mum takes cares of my brothers and sisters in Romania. I send money home to them. That’s one of the reasons I sell the magazine – to help them. I also have two children. My daughter is four and my son is three in November. I have a boyfriend. He lives with me sometimes, but he comes and goes. He works for a delivery company.

Why did you come to the UK from Romania?
I came here because there is work here, so that I can make some money. Life in Romania is very difficult. I am Roma. This is important to me. Roma people are treated differently in Romania. I don’t know why. It’s a bit like how Gypsies are treated here in England.

Do you enjoy selling the magazine?
I very much like selling the magazine. It’s good because I can earn money every day and not have to wait for a week or a month to get paid. I need money every day. I need shopping for my children. I need to help my family in Romania. And the people at Big Issue North office are very nice. They help you with anything.

What makes you happy?
I am a very smiley person. I smile because Jesus, he looks after me. I am a Christian. I go to church every Sunday. A lot of Romanians got to the church that I go to. It’s a Pentecostal church. It’s a good place where I can talk about my problems and this make me feel good.

What makes you sad?
I don’t like having my picture taken!

It’s been a bit of a miserable summer this year. What’s the weather normally like in Romania?
In Romania summers are very hot and winters are very cold. In England, every day is different. Some days are hot, some days are cold. I don’t like it too hot. Being too hot makes me tired. I sell at the Asda in Holt Park and it’s a good place to sell because I have shelter from the rain and shade from the sun. They are good to me there.

Do you have a message for your customers?
I hope you are happy with me when I sell the magazine. Thank you to all of them. They all feel like my friends. They all look after me.

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Big Issue North during the Coronavirus pandemic

We have taken the difficult decision to tell our vendors that they cannot sell Big Issue North on the streets during the Coronavirus pandemic, for the safety of the public and themselves.

This is a serious emergency for our vendors, and they need your help. There are three things you can do right now to help them get through this impossibly tough period.

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