Eva Stan, 37, outside Body Shop, Nottingham

“There are some very nice parks in the city. My kids love running around outdoors.”

I have a good pitch here in the centre of Nottingham. It is cold at this time of year but people are still happy to smile, to say hello and hopefully to buy a magazine. There are a lot of friendly people in Nottingham. I like to speak to my customers – it keeps me happy.

I came to the UK in 2013 with my husband and two children – my 10-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter. We were living on the outskirts of one of the bigger cities in Romania. There were no jobs, life was very hard and there were no opportunities for my children. So we came to the UK to look for a better life.

I felt more settled and part of life. And through selling The Big Issue and speaking to my customers every day my English has improved.

It was very difficult at first. We came to Nottingham because we knew some people here. Our house was very cramped and heating it was very hard. We didn’t know if we could afford to stay there, it was a very uncertain time.

When I started to sell The Big Issue it gave us some money and my confidence improved. I felt more settled and part of life here. And through speaking to my customers every day my English has improved. My children are doing really well in school. So life is definitely getting better.

I like to go and sit with a nice warm coffee in a nearby café when it is cold. That is my treat when I have earned some money to spare. I like to be working hard.

I am always very focused on my children. We like the parks in Nottingham – there are some very nice ones, like Forest Park. They love to be running around. They particularly love it in the summer – I enjoy running myself when it is nice outside.

I prefer my children to be getting exercise outdoors, rather than being stuck indoors playing any computer games. But as long as they are happy, then that makes me happy.

It feels like, for the first time, I can now look forward to the future. That is a new feeling for me.

I am very grateful to my Big Issue customers for all their support, and for making life a little more certain for us.

Freedom! I would love to visit Scotland – it would be really great to see where my favourite film Braveheart is based on.

My favourite place… The Cartwheel coffee shop. If I can afford it, it is a nice place to get a coffee. It’s warm and the staff there are always so friendly.

On my pitch… I’m outside Body Shop, Albert Street, Nottingham (9am-5pm)

The Body Shop, Bridlesmith Gate, Nottingham, United Kingdom

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