Giovanni Casadio has spent the lockdown studying to pursue his dream of becoming a car mechanic, so we’ve helped him out by buying him a laptop.
Bournemouth vendor Gio has been studying maths and English with The Open University with a view to starting a car mechanics college course in September.
But he was forced to access the distance learning course on his phone during the Covid-19 lockdown – we have supported him by buying a laptop to use for his studies. We have also been helping Gio, 30, with cash and food vouchers while he has been unable to sell the magazine on his pitch in Sandbanks.
I’m finding it a bit scary getting back into education but Kirsten in The Big Issue office has been a big help
Kenyan-born Gio, who moved to the UK when he was 16 years old and has been selling the magazine on and off since he was 18, has been so moved by The Big Issue’s help that he has vowed to pay back the money for the laptop despite there being no requirement for him to do so.
He said: “I want to open up my own garage to work on cars, outboards and all kinds of vehicles really. I’ve got experience doing it in the past but I have forgotten quite a lot because I was on tablets for my mental health that have affected my memory.
“My dad had a diesel technical garage in Kenya and we used to fix everything from Cessna aeroplanes to combine harvesters to tanks for the British army. I try explaining that to people here and they look at me and laugh like I’m nuts. I’ve been trying to get into the industry for a while and just need to get the qualification through the Open University.
“I’m finding it a bit scary getting back into education but Kirsten in The Big Issue office has been a big help.”
All Big Issue vendors were temporarily taken off their pitches for their own protection in March after the Covid-19 lockdown came into force.
It meant that vendors saw their incomes slashed overnight with The Big Issue acting quickly to support them through these difficult times.
The Big Issue has inspired the launch of 120 street papers globally, including sister titles in Australia, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.
It’s action that Gio is particularly pleased to see and he has also worked hard to help himself during the lockdown.
He speaks of a new-found motivation to volunteer with The Big Issue and further himself with education.
Gio added: “It’s been like hell being off my pitch. I’ve barely got enough to live on and I’m finding it really difficult. But I feel like everything will work out and there is a greater plan involved.
“I’ve been missing my customers and I want to tell them that The Big Issue has done a brilliant job with those whole Covid-19 situation and they’ve handled themselves in a very diplomatic way. Kirsten and management have been absolutely superb offering help to everyone and calling vendors to check on them. Other vendors have told me, too, that they have gone above and beyond. I’ve never known this from The Big Issue and I’ve sold the magazine for more than 12 years.
“Getting into this college course has really given me motivation. I’ve lived on and off the street for a considerable amount of time and now I want to be able to help people. I’ve helped a few vendors and coached them a little bit to sell the magazine.
“I want to repay The Big Issue back for everything they have done to help me. The Big Issue has helped me get clothes and helped me get rehoused since I got back to Bournemouth after leaving Newquay. I’m thankful.”
You can keep us going by subscribing to the magazine to receive it every week directly to your door or device. Head to bigissue.com/subscribe for more details.
You can also get a copy in stores for the first time. Head to Morrisons, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, McColl’s, Co-op, Asda or WH Smith to grab the latest issue.