ISSUE 1354

‘The Big Issue saved me’: The incredible, life-affirming story of top firefighter Sabrina Cohen-Hatton

There were times I was really hungry. I would eat out of bins. I was too young to claim any benefits – they offered me £15 a fortnight ‘bridging allowance’. Don’t spend it all at once.

Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, 36, is one of the most senior firefighters in the country, having taken charge of the service’s 2017 response to terror attacks in Finsbury Park and Westminster in London. She’s also a prize-winning academic and author.

But it was a long road to get there – Cohen-Hatton was left homeless as a teenager after her father’s death.

She says one decision turned her life around: Choosing to be a Big Issue vendor. Not only did it help her earn a living, but it helped her reintegrate back into society.

“So that was the great thing about The Big Issue. It gave me an opportunity to earn. It gave me some dignity back at a time when I felt like I didn’t have any.”

Read Sabrina’s incredible story in full in this week’s Big Issue

Inside this week

  • Prize writer Ian McEwan reflects on his younger self and outgrowing his adolescent ego in our Letter To My Younger Self
  • Liam Geraghty investigates the landmark Homelessness Reduction Act, one year on. Has it changed anything?
  • Richard Todd is our My Pitch vendor. He managed to save up enough money with The Big Issue to buy his own caravan

And much more. Get your Big Issue on the streets now.