Euzefina Tataru, Co-op, Winterbourne, Bristol

The Big Issue has helped Euzefina Tataru through Covid and to become a part of the community in Bristol. Now she is selling the magazine to get through the cost of living crisis.

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Lately things have been quite steady at the pitch where I sell. The community of people there know me very well and I like the fact that they want to get to know me more, they’re curious about me as a person, and they speak very kindly to me. If I am happy or sad they come up to me and speak to me. They’ve told me: “You’re an extraordinary person, you’ve been here for so many years, you’re a good seller, polite, respectful, without trying to force people to buy the magazine.” I like to believe that the people in the community appreciate me, and they help me. 

I have a very good relationship with my clients. There’s been moments when I’ve struggled, and they’ve even offered to buy me food. I want my clients to know that I do love them and that I enjoy communicating to them every single day, and I appreciate everything they do for me. It’s not just buying the magazines, they are a part of me, they understand me when I have problems and they support me. 

Last year I wasn’t selling on this pitch as I’ve taken some breaks because I had to go to Romania. So this year, when I returned to The Big Issue, the pitch was free and when I went to sell there again my clients were really happy to see me back.  I haven’t been on this Winterbourne pitch for two years, I was also selling in Staple Hill, another place where I’ve made good connections with clients there, but I prefer Winterbourne. 

Overall, I’ve been selling The Big Issue since 2012. My husband moved first in 2011 for work and to ensure that it is a good place for us to live here. I found it very difficult when I moved to Bristol, I was staying with another family that I knew and had no possibility to rent or pay for a room. So I decided to join The Big Issue, and even until this day, I still enjoy doing The Big Issue.  

During the pandemic, my husband worked really hard to keep us financially stable as I was unable to sell. The Big Issue has helped us with fuel vouchers and referrals to a foodbank, they’ve helped as much as they could. 

If it wasn’t for The Big Issue, I would have to try and find another opportunity. I’ve done some jobs in between as well. I was working previously in an Italian restaurant as a kitchen porter, but my health started to deteriorate so I can’t do this sort of job anymore. However, I would like to find a small part-time job as a cleaner. Cleaning rooms in hotels is a very hard and physical job, but I could do some office or restaurant cleaning. I’m thinking maybe in January I could look for a small job like this, maybe The Big Issue could help me in finding one. 

I currently live in private renting with my family. I enjoy looking after my grandchildren. I take them to school in the morning to free up my family. When I’m not on my pitch I enjoy playing with the grandchildren and cook traditional food for them. I don’t have any plans for the future, I just want my family to stay healthy and united. 

The cost-of-living crisis has definitely affected us. We’re struggling a bit more than last year. We notice that the prices have gone up every time we do our weekly groceries, you can barely buy any food for £20! Life in Bristol is very expensive now, we’re always worrying about money and if we’re going to have food to put on the table. 

Interview: Paula Gombos 

Co-op Food - Winterbourne, Dragon Road, Winterbourne, Bristol, UK