Today on World Kindness Day (Saturday 13th November) Julie Cherry, will be the first of four vendors, featured by The Big Issue in the organisation’s Christmas campaign, The Big Wish, where she will reveal her wish for this Christmas.
Julie’s wish will be a part of The Big Issue’s digital campaign calling for public support for the 1,300 vendors across the UK who are facing high streets with reduced footfall due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic.
Julie’s wish this Christmas is “for more kindness“. She explained that “everyone could do with more clothes or food, but I really wish for more kindness. Last year, people showed a lot of kindness during the pandemic, but this has disappeared in recent times. And I hope it will return!”
Explaining what led Julie to becoming homeless, she said: “I hadn’t been well for a while, and in the end, I lost my flat and my job as well as all my savings. I became homeless. It is terrifying being homeless and a lot more challenging as a woman. Luckily, I got a place in a hostel within a few weeks.”
She continued: “Selling The Big Issue gave me an identity beyond being homeless. People talked to me, I no longer felt like an outcast; in fact, I made a whole new set of friends. I decided that if I focused on selling the magazine, I would be able to start getting my life back together and move on from the hostel.”
Julie now lives in a flat with her dog Jack and has completed qualifications in First Aid, Customer Service and Stewarding. This meant she was able to take up a job as a Safety Steward for Bournemouth Football Club, which she does alongside selling The Big Issue.