Istvan, Liverpool city centre

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
In English, my name is Steven. I speak Hungarian and Romanian perfectly but I only speak a little English. I am 44 and I came to the UK in 2016 to look for work because where I am from there is very little money. 

‘I sleep at friends’ houses, on floors or sometimes on the street’

Why do you sell Big Issue North?
I am always looking for work here in the UK and I have done all kinds of jobs. But I have been selling the magazine on and off since 2016 to give me some extra money when there is not the possibility to get other work. I have a good CV and I take this to employers to show them what I can do.

What work have you done in the past?
In Romania I was a telecommunications engineer and a joiner. I have a lot of experience. I can fit doors and windows and work on building sites. But my English is not good enough for me to get that kind of work here yet, so I have worked in factories or as a cleaner. I have also just got pre-settled status from the government, which means I can carry on looking for work and not worry. I would like to be a joiner again someday as I have a lot of good experience in this and it is a good profession. I am hoping to get a new cleaning job soon at Liverpool Football Club. I am a fan. 

Why do you support Liverpool?
I don’t know why I support Liverpool. I just do, ever since I was a kid. It is in my heart. 

Where are you sleeping at the moment?
I sleep at friends’ houses, on floors or sometimes out on the street. I carry a sleeping bag with me and have another sleeping bag at a friend’s house. I carry a big bag with me that has my things in.

Do you like Liverpool and the people here?
Yes, very much. The people are good here but when I am out selling on the streets there are some people who use drugs in the city and they have many problems. I do not use drugs like weed or crack, but I have three official drugs that I do use: tobacco, a little bit of alcohol and rock music!

Who is your favourite rock band?
Metallica. I love the song Nothing Else Matters. I like a good rock ballad. I have always loved rock music since I was a child. I used to listen to Hungarian rock music. With my long hair and my beard I look like I should drive a motorcycle but I have never owned one. I like motorbikes though.

Do you like selling the magazine?
Yes. I ask if people want to buy the magazine and I am thankful when they do, but if they do not or they have no money that is fine also. I always talk to them and I am glad when they talk back to 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.

  1. Buy our digital issue of this week’s magazine Buy
  2. Donate to our hardship fund, which we’ll use to help vendors in the most urgent need Donate
  3. Buy subscriptions and back issues online Shop Now