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We bought Richie a freezer after he lost £200 of food when his old one failed

The Lincoln vendor shed tears when his freezer went bust and flooded his kitchen in lockdown. We replaced it and gave him supermarket vouchers to stock back up

Richie Lincoln

The Big Issue has stepped in to help much-loved vendor Richie through a crisis while in lockdown after the Lincoln seller lost £200 of frozen food when his freezer failed.

We acted quickly to order a new freezer for Richie, who is temporarily unable to sell the magazine on his regular pitch outside M&S on Lincoln’s high street due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while we also supplied him with a supermarket voucher to replace some of the lost food.

I might as well have just drawn the money out of the bank and set fire to it

He told The Big Issue that he was left in tears after waking up to find his freezer broken and kitchen flooded – just a day after he had stocked it up with frozen food following the arrival of his first Universal Credit payment on May 22.

Richie said: “I’d been struggling for food so I had a brainwave and thought I’d get £200 of frozen food and filled the freezer so I knew I had at least a month’s worth of food. I woke up to a flooded kitchen and most of the food had gone, I was only able to salvage three meals out of it.

“It just made me want to sit and cry, I was devastated – it’s the way my life runs at the moment, I get one idea, sort it in my head, it plays out okay and then 10 minutes later it all goes wrong.

“I say to all my friends that if I didn’t get any bad luck I wouldn’t get any luck at all. I can’t really complain – I bought the freezer for a fiver second-hand six years ago and if I hadn’t put that much food in it then it wouldn’t have gone wrong so I won’t make that mistake again.

“To other people it’s just a bit of food but when you have waited 11 weeks to sort out your Universal Credit it’s difficult. I might as well have just drawn the money out of the bank and set fire to it. “

The new freezer arrived early this week and Richie has given his thanks to The Big Issue for acting quickly during his time of need.

He has now been able to stock up on food to keep him going while he waits in lockdown to return to his pitch.

Richie added: “It left me skint but luckily The Big Issue sent me a supermarket voucher and the freezer arrived this week so I’ve been able to stock that up – Holly (O’Connor) in the Big Issue office was absolutely amazing.

“I’ve got some amazing friends to help me and The Big Issue has been absolutely phenomenal. I really do want to thank them for supporting me “

To hear more from Richie, download the first episode of The Big Miss You Podcast, which we launched earlier this month.

We are only able to keep supporting vendors like Richie 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: Phil Crow

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.
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