I’m sleeping rough in Bath at the moment, so I like to start selling the magazine early, about 8am. I’ve got a lot of great customers now who keep me going throughout the day. With Waitrose nearby and plenty of cafes, people often give me cups of tea and coffee.
I’ve been working really hard selling the magazine for the last 10 months now. I see it as building up my own little business. After a really rough time of it, I saw it as a chance at a fresh start. I had lost my way, completely, for a time. And then I had a bad fall from a three-story building, so now I’ve got a metal hip and a bit of metal in my wrist, too.
It was something like a near-death experience, but I’ve recovered well since then, thanks to The Big Issue
It was something like a near-death experience, but I’ve recovered well since then, thanks to The Big Issue. It gave me a bit of structure – it gave me a chance to begin repairing my life again. It’s given me enough to buy some clothes and keep myself going. If I can keep my sales up and get some normality back, I’d eventually like to set up my own caravan business, if I got the chance. I think more caravans might give more homeless people the chance to rebuild their lives.
I stayed in a caravan for a while, moving from site to site in Somerset. I grew up in this part of the world, and in recent years I’ve tended to move from town to town, and from hostel to hostel. I think I’m ready to settle down in Bath, if I can find somewhere to stay. It’s a really, really nice city. Plenty of tourists come here for the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey and all the Georgian buildings.
The Big Issue has inspired the launch of 120 street papers globally, including sister titles in Australia, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.
There are some very nice places along the River Avon to stretch out when you want to chill out and take a break. That’s a very nice thing to do in the summer, when the weather’s been as nice as it has.
The one thing I miss most is fishing. My stepdad used to take me fishing in a few places just north of Bath, back before I ended up in care. It was a great thing, just to sit there for hours and enjoy the peace and quiet. If I got the chance I’d love to find some of those spots again. I suppose it would be a sign of getting back to normal life.
I feel I’ve been given a second chance at life, and I’m determined to take it
In the meantime, I’m determined to keep working hard and keep out of trouble. I feel I’ve been given a second chance at life, and I’m determined to take it.
My favourite place… Green Park. It’s a lovely little park in Bath that sits beside the River Avon. It’s a great place to watch the world go by.
If I could go anywhere, I’d go to… The Amazon rainforest. I’d love to go and do some exploring there. I’d like the heat, and they’d have the biggest fish to catch.
On my pitch… I’m outside TK Maxx in Bath, from 8am to 7pm.
Photo: Sean MalyonTK Maxx, High Street, Bath