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‘The Big Issue got me back on my feet’: Magazine seller turns his life around with new security job

The former Exeter Big Issue vendor has gone from selling the magazine on the city’s streets to working as a steward.

Big Issue vendor Will Adams has turned his life around after selling the magazine and has now swapped his red tabard for a high-vis jacket at his new security job.

Big Issue vendor
Will Adams, pictured in 2018, has become a familiar sight on his pitch outside the O2 store in Exeter in recent years. Image: Kevin Cowell

The 31-year-old has become a familiar sight selling the magazine outside Exeter’s O2 store over the last six years but he stopped selling at the end of 2021 after securing a new role with All Elite Security.

Adams has worked at Exeter Racecourse and Exeter City football games as well as Exeter Chiefs rugby matches since he joined the firm.

“It’s been going really well,” Adams told The Big Issue. “I’ve got plenty of work lined up and I’ve met a bunch of people and gained some new friends.

“It’s the start of this career for me and I feel like nothing’s going to stop me now even if Covid does delay things.”

As well as taking on stewarding roles, Adams is also currently studying to work as a bouncer in Exeter.

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It’s a far cry from the position he was in when he first joined The Big Issue at the age of 25.

Adams was homeless and battling addiction at the time and he previously told The Big Issue that selling the magazine saved his life.

The Big Issue helped Adams get into accommodation and to manage the steps he needed to live independently, including everyday tasks like applying to get ID.

But selling the magazine also gave him the people skills he needed to forge his new career, Adams added.

“People at The Big Issue have bent over backwards to progress to the next stage of my life. They got me back on my feet and working again,” he said.

“Even with the work I’ve done so far, the experiences I’ve had on The Big Issue have put me in good stead because vendors deal with different adversities on a daily basis.

“That comes in handy because I know how to deal with these people and how to talk to people to calm them down and educate them about your job.

“Thanks a lot to all of my customers for all the support they have given me in the past.”

Do you want to become a Big Issue vendor or find your local seller? Head here to find out how you can start to sell the magazine, or find your local vendor here.

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