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Richard’s Story

Richard sells the Big Issue in Birchington-On-Sea and has decided to fundraise for The Big Issue Foundation by growing a beard for the charity. Richard decided to do this activity to give something back to The Big Issue Foundation.

“If I hadn’t  got involved in The Big Issue when I did, I wouldn’t be here now’.

Richard really enjoys running his micro business and has previously had support from The Big Issue Foundation’s Vendor Support Fund, which allowed him to do a college course in counselling.

“I grew up in London. But I grew up in care, in and out of foster homes in the city, so it wasn’t really home at all. I always promised myself I’d go and live by the seaside one day. And here I am on the Kent coast. I sell in Birchington-on-Sea a lot of the time, and I also sell in Westgate-on-Sea. And I live in between, in a little house in Margate.

I have a roof over my head again after many years of homelessness. It’s taken a bit of getting used to and I spent a lot of time in temporary accommodation and sofa surfing.

I ran into a lot of problems when I split up with my partner. I got depressed and down because there was no support to turn to and I felt no one was listening. I really hit rock bottom with my drinking then. When you lose your pride it can be real struggle.

Selling the magazine here in Birchington gave me a sense of purpose again. It gave me my pride back. All my customers said they noticed a huge difference in my confidence, considering what I was like when I started.

I’ve done talks in the secondary schools, explaining the work of The Big Issue and trying to boost positive perceptions.

I wanted to give something back, so I decided to do some fundraising for The Big Issue Foundation, the arm of the organization that supports vendors. Since the start of April I’ve been growing a beard and asking people to sponsor me. Richard has been extremely grateful with the response he has received from supporters so far, including a letter he received from a kind reader who was taken with his story gave him a cheque for £100 along with a lovely hand written card.

You can sponsor Richard for his fundraising challenge here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Richardgrowsabeard

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

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