How old are you and how long have you sold Big Issue North for?
I’ll be 26 in February and I’ve sold the magazine for about seven years now.
‘2020 was awful. I’m trying to survive, but it’s been very hard.’
How was 2020 for you?
It was awful. I’m trying to survive, but it’s been very hard. With Covid, everything changed. Normally, I would wake up, go to the office to buy magazines and then go to my pitch and make some money. I will never get rich selling Big Issue North but I try to do what I can for my children. I have been back to work since we were able to after the last lockdown. I can’t stay home. It doesn’t work like that, especially when you have kids.
How have you survived?
I got some help from the Big Issue North office from the hardship fund, some money and some nappies. It didn’t make up for the loss of money from not selling the magazine though. I had to use food banks to keep feeding my family.
Tell us about your family.
I have four boys and a girl, so I have a lot of mouths to feed. My husband also lost his job in 2020. He was a delivery driver but that work came to an end and he couldn’t afford the petrol and to keep the car to keep working to find other jobs. The school is open now at least. It was so difficult in the first lockdown because my children wanted to go to school and kept asking me about it. It was very boring for them and I felt very isolated at home with the kids.
Where do you live?
I live in Manchester, in Longsight, and travel every day to Nantwich. It is expensive but it is usually worth it. Nantwich was a good pitch before the pandemic but at the moment a lot of my regular customers are not around. Some of them are isolating and not coming out. And some people who used to buy the magazine don’t buy it anymore, so I am starting to feel, what is the point now? I miss the people who usually buy from me. They are good people and I have known them for a long time.
Would you do a different job?
I would like to but having children and not really having much childcare available to me, there’s not much else I can do. The good thing about selling the magazine is that I can be my own boss. If I have to go to the doctors with my children, then I can. It fits well with my life.
What are your hopes for 2021?
That everyone and everything is all right. I hope for good health for everyone. That’s the most important thing. I want to meet family and friends again. And I look forward to the day that we do not have to wear masks when we are selling, because it is uncomfortable, and makes it difficult to chat with customers.
Do you have a message for your customers?
I wish for their good health and happiness. I hope everyone has a very good 2021.