Louis Hague, Royal Arcade, Cardiff

Louis is hoping to find a new job for the new year

I’ve been selling the magazine around three years. It was during the pandemic – I was working at an agency stocking the shelves in Tesco and putting displays together in B&Q before Covid. I was also working in a factory, but I couldn’t keep that up because I had to get there for six in the morning every single day. I was getting taxis there at five in the morning but I had £300-or-something a fortnight from universal credit and I was shelling out for taxis. One time I rode my bike there and it just killed me. 

I suddenly had no work, and I found The Big Issue and was making good money from that. The Big Issue has always been good for me, but I would like to get a job that pays a bit more. Selling the magazine helps a lot in paying bills and gives me money to get food most of the time, as well as keeping me in my flat.  

Selling The Big Issue at Christmas has been amazing. I made, like, £45 in one day. People have been very good – I’m literally standing there for 10 minutes and I’m making money. Then I’m going back and getting more issues. The Big Issue also gives you vouchers towards food in supermarkets and stuff like that, and I’m getting that now and then because I sell loads of issues. 

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My old support worker at Big Issue, Ben, he was amazing, I’ve got to sing his praises. He helped me get a passport, so if I need a job it’s there. I keep it secure in a safe.  

You have very good conversations with people. Sometimes you chat about the issue, Christmas, life, that sort of thing. You meet all kinds of people and all kinds of personalities. I remember quite a few people’s names because I see them that often. One guy comes and buys me lunch every now and then to make sure I’m fed. He’ll buy me like five pasties, and that’s just great. It’s a massive help. Some people are happy with the position they’re in and sell The Big Issue for years. I think I’ve sold it for too long. 

I did have a job in between at Poundland. I lost it just after Christmas because we had a new boss and I just wasn’t getting the hours to recover my rent. I got let go. My big hope for the new year is to get another job. When I was in work I bought an electric bike on my pay day and I was thinking of getting a licence to learn to drive. My horizons were broadened because I had the money to spend on things.  

Away from selling the magazine, I like to play Call of Duty, but I had to sell my PlayStation 4 the other day because I had no money. I’d love to get a virtual reality headset because the graphics are supposed to be just like real life. That’s really my main hobby.   

For Christmas I saw my brother and had food, did some presents and chilled. I was fostered when I was growing up but I know my real brother now and my real parents. I’m very happy about that, everything’s how it should be right now. I’ve known my brother for seven or eight years now ever since I left my parents’ house. I got in contact with him over Facebook and realised he’d moved around the corner from me. When I saw my brother, he said people who’d seen me had told him, “Your brother must be around.” I reconnected with my real mum and dad after that and it’s everything, it’s epic. I’m more in touch with my real parents than I’ve ever been and it’s something I definitely value more. 

Words: Liam Geraghty 

Royal Arcade, Cardiff, Royal Arcade, Cardiff, UK

The Big Issue

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