Jack Sargeant follows in late dad Carl’s footsteps with Big Issue sell-off

The Alyn & Deeside AM took on the challenge alongside Plaid Cymru Member Bethan Sayed almost a year to the day after Carl donned the tabard

Welsh AM Jack Sargeant admitted that his late dad Carl would be “proud of him” for donning a Big Issue tabard to sell the magazine.

Then-Communities and Children Secretary Carl tried his hand as a vendor at Queen Street in Cardiff last October just a month before his tragic death.

Son Jack insisted that the sell-off experience “inspired my dad to tackle homelessness” when he followed in his footsteps to sell the magazine with vendor Mike Hall on the Royal Arcade pitch in the Welsh capital on Thursday.

Jack Sargeant
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Jack Sargeant managed to sell five magazines in one hour

Plaid Cymru Member Bethan Sayed also returned after taking part in the sell-off with Carl last year, this time joining vendor Mark Richards at Charles Street.

Alyn & Deeside AM Jack, who sold five magazines in an hour, said: “One of the things I remember talking to my dad about was homelessness.

“Before he passed away he wanted to focus his efforts on tackling it after selling The Big Issue showed him a lot. Unfortunately he never got to do that.

“So it was a really useful experience for me to come here a year after my dad had sold the magazine alongside Bethan.”

DID YOU KNOW…

If you pay for the magazine you should always take it. Vendors are working for a hand up, not a handout.

Jack wrote exclusively for The Big Issue in May this year shortly after becoming Wales’ youngest-ever Assembly Member.

“To sell five magazines, I think, was quite good going,” he said. “I was quite happy with how the general public received me because it is can be quite a lonely job.

“I think the experience showed me the importance of stopping and having that conversation because that can really help someone, not just by buying the magazine. Even a smile at someone on the street can save a life.

Jack Sargeant Mike Hall
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Jack Sargeant (left) was assisted on his pitch with vendor Mike Hall

“I think my dad would have been very proud looking down on me and Bethan. More people in my position should try it – it’s a really valuable experience.”

Vendor Mike said that Jack’s five-magazine-haul was an impressive effort. “I think it went really well. I asked Jack how he would like to sell, whether he wanted to be more vocal or not, then gave him a few tips after showing him how I sell the magazine.”

Bethan Sayed
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Mark Richards (left) helped Bethan Sayed sell four magazines – three more than last year

Sayed sold the magazine with vendor and subscriptions manager Mark and managed to top her 2017 tally.

“I sold four this time, which is three more than last time,” she said. “I learned not to take it personally when somebody would walk past me because last year I felt sad and that is something that must be challenging if you are doing this full-time.”

Beth Thomas, The Big Issue regional manager, added: “The sell-off experience was a great opportunity to show Jack and Bethan, on a small scale, what everyday life selling the magazine on the streets is like for Big Issue vendors.

“Mike and Mark were both fantastic ambassadors for The Big Issue, showing them the ropes, providing sales tips as well as sharing their experiences of homelessness and poverty.”

Images: Francesca Stone