Siva, Manchester city centre

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How long have you sold Big Issue North for?
I was selling in Liverpool for about six months and then I came here to Manchester. I can’t sell every day. I have some problems – mental health problems. Sometimes I hear voices. I feel like people are coming after me. In the past I have tried to commit suicide. The problems started about four or five years ago. I think I was feeling alone. No friends. No family. No one to talk to. 

Do you get any support with this?
I get mental health support now. I take medication and hopefully I will see a psychologist soon. 

‘I read a lot. I read about psychology, science and sports’

Why do you sell the magazine?
Selling Big Issue North is not about money for me. When I come to the street to sell I meet nice people, they talk to me, ask me how I am. I feel like there is a family around me. This helps me feel good. If I sit in my room, I am thinking bad thoughts. I feel alone. I take more medication and I do not feel comfortable. That’s why, when there is a difficult situation I come out and sell the magazine. It’s all about the people. 

Where do you live?
I live in Salford. I live in a shared house. It’s nice. Nice people. I have only been there for a few months. I have lived in many places before. I lived in London for 10 years and Liverpool for nearly 12. Now I love Manchester though. I think this is my favourite city. The people in Manchester are very special. I saw how Manchester people acted when the bomb went off at the Ariana Grande concert, how they were all queueing to give blood. There was a big, big queue. I have always given blood, but seeing this made me realise how important it was.

What do you do in your spare time?
I watch lots of football – all kinds of football. I love all kinds of sport and I read a lot. I read all the newspapers and I read a lot of books. I read about psychology, science and sports. I struggle to sleep. That’s why I read so much. I can be up early in the morning just reading. When I do sleep, it’s only for a few hours each time. Oh, and I am a very good chess player.

How old are you?
I’m 42 but I think I look much older because I have grey hair.

Where are you from?
I have an Asian background but I have lived in this country for 23 years and so this is my home. Where I was born does not matter. 

What are your plans for the future?
I have no idea. 

Do you have a message for your customers?
Thank you to all my lovely customers. Just keep coming to talk to me. Before selling the magazine I thought my life was finished, but it is not. 

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