How old are you?
I don’t want to tell you that!
How long have you sold Big Issue North for?
I have sold the magazine for just a month. It is sometimes easy, sometimes hard. But it’s okay. Today has been very quiet and the weather is not so nice.
Why do you sell it?
I need to help my children, my mother. I need to pay rent and to eat.
How many children do you have?
I have three. The eldest is 12, one is six and the other one is two. I live with my children and my mother. It’s a busy life. I work. I go home and look after my children. It’s hard. But what can I do? This is life!
Where are you from?
I am from Romania. But I have lived in the UK for 12 years. My English is good. I learnt to speak English here in England.
Have you done other work before?
I sometimes sell flowers. It’s like selling the magazine: some people buy the flowers, some people don’t. When I am selling the magazine, some people like to come and talk to me for a long time and then they do not buy anything, but that is okay.
What were the lockdowns like for you?
They were very hard. I wasn’t able to do anything, go anywhere. I have brothers and they helped me but I needed money. My cousin sells Big Issue North and told me about it. That’s how I came to sell it. The people in the office are very nice and I am very happy that I have found it.
What are your dreams for the future?
I have no dreams really. My life is okay. I am happy selling the magazine. But I am scared about the pandemic. My dad died from the coronavirus. It was very horrible, very hard.
That’s awful. When and where did that happen?
This was in Romania about nine months ago. This is why I am wearing black. I went to see him and then I got coronavirus from him and I was in hospital for three weeks. I was very ill.
Have you sorted out your settled status to stay in the UK?
I need to talk to the office about it. I am not sure. I didn’t really know much about it but I think my brother may have done it for me.
Do you have a message for your customers?
Thank you for coming to help me.