Ion, Tesco, Deysbrook Lane, Liverpool

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How has this year been?
It’s been very difficult. Very difficult. I had a part time job in an office at the start of the year but that stopped. I would like to find more work but it is hard to get a new job at the moment. Finding work here in the UK is so difficult. Hundreds of people apply for just one job. I don’t get any benefits. I cannot get Universal Credit. I tried to apply but they said that I do not qualify for it. We get some child support but that is about it. When the Big Issue North office was closed for the pandemic it was so, so difficult. I need money for my family, but we had no money at all when we could not sell the magazine, apart from hardship money from Big Issue North. 

‘Merry Christmas. I hope next year will be better for us all’

How old are you and how long have you sold the magazine for?
I am 35 years old. I have sold the magazine for nearly four years now. I really enjoy selling it. I like to talk to people. I have some very good, kind customers. 

What jobs have you done in the past?
When I lived in Spain I worked in cafés and restaurants. I can speak very good Spanish because although I was born in Romania, I grew up mainly in Spain. 

Tell us about your family.
We have seven children and my wife is expecting another child, another boy, in a month or so. But that is the last one for sure. 

Where do you live?
I live with my wife and my children in a small house. My children sleep in the two bedrooms and we sleep in the living room. It can be busy, but I don’t mind. 

Do you still have family in Spain?
Yes, my dad lives in Spain. Things have been very, very bad there with Covid-19. I am worried for everyone.

Are you looking forward to Christmas?
I guess so. My kids are very excited about Santa Claus. They are always asking for things, but it is so difficult because we have no money to spend. I will be out selling the magazine as much as I can.

What are your hopes for 2021?
I don’t know. Just to survive. Just that things get better. 

Do you have a message for your customers?
I wish my customers a very merry Christmas and I hope that next year will be better for all of us. 

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