News

I was a Big Issue vendor and now I own a cleaning business

Steven Murray struggled to get a job while he grappled with his drug addiction. He spent a year with The Big Issue and now has two children and a cleaning business.

Steven Murray is now a renowned crime scene cleaner. Photo Steven Murray

Steven Murray sold The Big Issue for just under a year between 2010 and 2011 while living in supported accommodation at Blue Triangle in Glasgow.

“I was told, ‘Steven, we think you would be great if you had a chance at a wee job.’ But nobody would take me on because I had a criminal record and a drug addiction,” he says.

“They told me about The Big Issue so I travelled up 15 miles to Glasgow from Balloch [at the southern end of Loch Lomond] and they got me set up and I loved it. It gave me a purpose to get up in the morning, to talk to people, to go out, to feel good. I was still a drug user at the time but that gave me the strength to get on with my programme.

“People started seeing me as a person and I was blessed to have that support.”

Steven Murray is now a renowned crime scene cleaner. Photo Steven Murray

Since then, Murray, 39, was able to move out of the homeless project and move in with his wife Lisa. The father of two now owns a cleaning business with his partner, Eco Clean, which employs people who have battled homelessness or drug addiction in the past.

The pair have been key workers throughout the pandemic and are even qualified crime scene cleaners on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to support the police.

“I just want to say thanks to The Big Issue and I want to inspire other people who are depressed, suffer from anxiety or have drug addictions or PTSD like me. These are all things we can work through if we talk about them,” says Murray.

“Without The Big Issue I wouldn’t have been here. The way my lifestyle was going I would have been dead, no doubt about it. I’m really thankful for that chance.”

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Poverty costs the UK billions each year. Politicians must commit to ending it this general election
Trussell Trust food banks
General election 2024

Poverty costs the UK billions each year. Politicians must commit to ending it this general election

Abuse survivor tried to take her own life after years-long battle with DWP over disability benefits
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
Department for Work and Pensions

Abuse survivor tried to take her own life after years-long battle with DWP over disability benefits

Rents in UK are rising at highest rate in decades. Will they keep going up?
rents uk
Renting

Rents in UK are rising at highest rate in decades. Will they keep going up?

No Rwanda flights before election, Sunak admits – as calls for urgent asylum reform grow louder
Rishi Sunak after calling the 4 July general election
General election 2024

No Rwanda flights before election, Sunak admits – as calls for urgent asylum reform grow louder

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know