Earlier this month, we highlighted what a vital lifeline a friendly word can be. As the darkest days of winter close in, just how important that is becomes clear: a report by Street Soccer Scotland revealed that two thirds of Scots never stop to speak to a homeless person, while Samaritans have launched their Small Talk campaign, because they know how a few words can drastically cut the number of suicides on the railways. It really could save a life.
Now, in the season of goodwill, we are calling on you, our Big Issue readers, to be part of a campaign we’re calling My Christmas Wish. We want you to speak to your local vendor to find out what he or she most wants out of life: it could be reunion with family, some quiet time, the chance to get around a little more easily. Even just a little warmth.
We want you to hit the streets to discover what is top of our vendors’ list – it could be while you are buying your copy of the magazine or just passing by, all it takes is a few words to start a conversation. Let us know your local vendor’s #MyChristmasWish on social media with a video or a picture (but please get permission from the vendor first).
To get the ball rolling here are some wishes from vendors around the country with the things that would make all the difference to them this year. Now it’s over to you.
Maurice Richards, 58, Charles Street, Cardiff: “My Christmas Wish is to have a pitch indoors now that it’s getting cold out there. I’ve been selling for two-and-a-half years and it gets harder every year. I have emphysema and I can’t take the cold, I even have to go when it rains so I would love to have the cover of being indoors. And Chelsea to win the league.”
Tom Currie, 55, King Street/Queen Street, Nottingham: “My Christmas Wish is to find my family in Scotland, I have three sisters and nieces and nephews there, and I would love to see them.”
Cristian Mihalache, 31, Outside Morrisons, Livingston: “My Christmas Wish is to get a driving licence. I am disabled and in a wheelchair so it is difficult to get around – it would make a big difference to me. I have never been able to have a chance at driving lessons before in the three years I have been selling the magazine.”
Terry McNamara, 67, Outside St Paul’s Cathedral, London: “My Christmas Wish is to see my family in Australia. My sister lives in Australia and she is paying for me to go and see her for six weeks over Christmas. I’m travelling around Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast while I’m over there. That will do for me.”