Jason, Next, Sheffield city centre

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Tell us a bit about yourself. 
I’m 56 years old. I was born in Newcastle but my parents took me down south when I was young and I grew up in Norwich, so I’ve got a Norfolk accent.

How long have you sold Big Issue North for?
I’ve sold street magazines for seven or eight years. I sold The Big Issue in Cardiff some time ago and then I sold this magazine in Manchester. I only came to Sheffield recently because I ran into some trouble in Manchester, so I moved.

How are you finding Sheffield?
Not bad. My father was from Leeds so we used to come down here when I was a kid. I know it a bit. Manchester and Sheffield are very different. There’s a bit more going on in Manchester, it’s a bigger city, but I guess Sheffield is a bit friendlier. It’s not a bad pitch that I’m on. You get one or two customers. But you need to work hard and be patient. I need to get more regulars coming and buying from me.

Where are you staying at the moment?
I’m in a Salvation Army hostel at the moment. It’s not too bad but I have a lot of trouble sleeping there. It’s sort of noisy. I was in a hotel for a few days and that was nice, getting some proper rest. But obviously that costs more money.

What’s your plan for the year?
I’d like to get a permanent job somewhere and I go down to the job centre sometimes, but I’ve not been for a while. I need to go back there. But to be honest I don’t know what my plan is. I’m in two minds about what to do next. I’m a bit open to things. I’m not sure if I’ll stay in Sheffield or go somewhere else.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I like old, traditional towns so somewhere with some history and nice architecture. I like older buildings, churches and cathedrals. Historical places. I like Durham and I really like York Minster a lot. That’s a nice place. The town I grew up in was very historical but I haven’t been back there for a long time.

Do you have any family?
My mum and dad have passed away, but my brother and sister still live down in Norwich. But I’ve split from them and we don’t talk anymore.

Do you enjoy selling the magazine? 
I don’t mind doing it. It’s good sometimes. I just sort of started selling magazines when I was in Cardiff and I’ve done it ever since really. If something else came up that was better, I’d do that. But that’s difficult. It depends on what comes up really.

What jobs have you done in the past? 
I’ve been a sales assistant years ago, for industrial stuff. And I’ve been a doorman, security, but that was years ago as well. I don’t know what will come up next.

How did you become homeless?
That’s difficult really. I don’t talk about that.

What makes you happy?
I’m sociable sometimes. I like seeing people as long as it’s a good atmosphere. But I don’t like it when things are difficult, like in Manchester, where there was some trouble. I’m quietly spoken and I don’t like it when things don’t feel right.

Do you have a message for your customers?
Please come and say hello to me and thanks for buying the magazine from me. It’s good that you’re supporting homeless people.

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