News

Popular Big Issue vendor Kris says he's lucky to have London hotel spot

The Marylebone vendor has been housed as part of the Everybody in Scheme during the Covid-19 pandemic. He tells us what life has been like in the London hotel where he is staying

Kris Dove Stay Alert

Much-loved Big Issue vendor Kris Dove has been housed in a London hotel for more than two months. The London seller slept in backpacker’s hostels while selling the magazine seven days a week at two different locations in the English capital – Marylebone Railway Station and the nearby Farmer’s Market. Now he’s passing the time self-isolating in his new home.

We asked the 29-year-old Newcastle native, who has been selling the magazine for almost a decade, to give us his impressions of life under the Everybody In scheme.

He said: “It’s been difficult. I’m used to being out seven days a week doing the mag, doing what I do best. To go from being on the street to not being able to do the mag or have anything to make use of my time from one day to the next has been soul-destroying.

“Don’t get me wrong. I’m very lucky with what I’ve got because I have very low support needs. I would say, in fact, that it is quite a relaxed atmosphere. But our movements are observed, which they didn’t tell us at the start. We found out via security staff.

“There is nothing really to do, there is only so much that you can entertain yourself with. You can go out and meet up with a friend and I’ve been able to do that and enjoy the weather, but there is only so much you can do.

“To be honest, it is six and two threes on whether I feel safer in the hotel. I’m streetwise, I know where to stay away from and where to go to. But in the big hotel where we are in now we have security staff and it is pretty well monitored with who is going in and out. I’m also in one of the smaller hotels with up to 42 people at once, some hotels have 300 people in.

“We’ve got nurses who come in every day and you have the option of a test. If somebody is showing symptoms of the virus they are expected to self-isolate. If they do come out of their room they are provided with PPE and masks. I’ve seen that happen, two guys have had symptoms and they were in different parts of the hotel. Because I was in the basement at one point they asked me to move out to a different room and I said I wouldn’t go to a room where they had been staying. I moved out to another room and those two guys were housed in the basement until they recovered from the symptoms of the virus.

“I’m really missing selling the magazine. It’s hard. I miss that interaction with people. It kept me sane really.”

We can only keep supporting vendors like Kris through the Covid-19 pandemic with your help. You can buy one-off issues or subscriptions from The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

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.

Image: Louise Haywood-Schiefer

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
Sunak calls general election for 4 July: 'It's time to put a limping government out of its misery'
General election 2024

Sunak calls general election for 4 July: 'It's time to put a limping government out of its misery'

'More bad news for renters': Rental crisis continues with steep rent rises despite inflation falling
inflation is falling but rents are still rising at a faster rate than wages
RENTING

'More bad news for renters': Rental crisis continues with steep rent rises despite inflation falling

DWP under investigation over treatment of ill and disabled people after deaths of benefit claimants
Department for Work and Pensions

DWP under investigation over treatment of ill and disabled people after deaths of benefit claimants

Yes, inflation is falling – but nearly 90% of Brits say cost of living crisis is far from over
inflation/ cost of living/ supermarket queue
Inflation

Yes, inflation is falling – but nearly 90% of Brits say cost of living crisis is far from over

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