Nicolae, Piccadilly Station, Manchester

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You have a new pitch from where you sell the magazine. Tell us about that.*
It is at the bottom of Piccadilly train station, near the taxi rank. It is a good pitch. People come and go there. The staff at the station are nice, very good. They ask every time if I have any problems or worries about beggars and things. The beggars near the station aren’t very nice. But I just ignore them and try to keep away from them.

‘I pay rent to stay with a nice family. At Christmas I’ll be with them’

How does selling the magazine help?
It’s good for my family. My mother is very sick and selling the magazine helps me to look after her. She lives in Romania and I send money home to her. Also I have some health problems and my new pitch is not far from the office, just up the road. Every day I come to the office to buy magazines and speak to the staff there.

How is your mother doing?
She can’t see very well. I worry about her. She has cataracts. There is not free healthcare in Romania. My mother does not have insurance and she is retired and does not have a lot of money. I am saving up to try to help her. 

Where you will you be at Christmas this year?
I will stay at my home. I am living with a family. I pay rent to stay with them. They are a nice family, a Romanian family. It is very good there. On Christmas Day I will be with them and I will go to church.

What are your plans for next year?
If I do not make enough money here, I will go to Sweden. I have cousins there and I hear there is work there. I cannot speak Swedish, I have never been there, but it will be OK.

Do you have any brothers and sisters?
I was adopted when I was a baby. My birth family live about 12km away from my adopted family. I do not understand why someone would give their child away but there were problems when I was a child – violence. I did not have any brothers and sisters with my adopted family, but recently I have been in touch with my real sister. After 36 years we have found each other on Facebook! I also have some real brothers. They are all in Romania.

What was your childhood like?
To begin with, it was very good. At that time there was communism in Romania. I know many bad things happened in Romania but I think everyone had jobs then. Everyone worked. At this time, my father was a manager on a farm and he had 200 people who worked for him. We didn’t know hard times when I was a child. 

Did you go to school?
I only went for one year. Then my adopted father died and my mother had to go to the village to work and she took me with her. She took me everywhere. This is why I miss her very much – because we were so close when I was growing up.

What makes you happy?
I am very happy because I am working, because I can do what I do. And I am happy when I speak to my mum on the phone.

What makes you sad?
When I do not make enough money. And when I miss home, miss my mum.

Do you have a message for your customers?
Please buy the magazine and look inside it. And thanks very much to the people who buy the magazine from 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.

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