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Alan's Story

Alan is a Big Issue seller by St Paul’s Cathedral in London, and also a keen writer. Looking for inspiration for his writing, Alan travelled to ‘the beautiful city of Amsterdam’ in January 2010. Here, he sold the street magazine “Z” , during Holland’s coldest winter for 30 years.

During his 3 month working stay, Alan recorded his various experiences in his memoir “Going Dutch”, which details the similarities and differences between homelessness in Amsterdam and London. Alan found that there was good support for the “Z” magazine in Amsterdam, which came out fortnightly on a Friday. Although Alan was rough sleeping at times whilst he was there, he had a connection with a hostel where he regularly stayed in the off peak season when there were less tourists.

Alan’s diary makes reference to the benefits of cycling in Holland: ‘an everyday feature of Amsterdam life-bikes-lots of bikes, because Holland is so flat and the Dutch have an eco-friendly conscience that goes way back to the 60’s.’

We will be following Alan’s journey from London to Amsterdam to support more Big Issue vendors on their own journeys away from homelessness. Join us on the 19th to 21st September as we peddle our way to change by signing up for our London to Amsterdam cycle challenge.

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