Paul Fox, 44, Church Street, Cardiff

I’ve got some great regulars. Selling the magazine is not always about the money.

I was married for years but that broke down about 10 to 15 years ago and my life’s been a battle ever since. I turned to drink, going out clubbing, doing cocaine. My drug abuse got out of control, and I ended up going to jail for shoplifting to feed my habit.

I got out about a year ago, and I had nothing to do. I stayed on the floor of The Huggard Centre, the homeless centre in Cardiff. I thought to myself, if I don’t do something then I’m in trouble.

I met a chap I knew when I’d been in jail and he was selling The Big Issue so I asked him about it. I thought I’d be good at it as I’ve got the banter – I used to go out selling things like socks and wrapping paper when I was a kid. I got badged up and since then I haven’t committed any crimes, and all the samples I’ve given to the drug agency have been clean.

I’m in a hostel at the moment but I’ve been looking at some flats recently. I want to get somewhere stable.

I’ve got some great regulars. There are a couple of elderly folk I’m really friendly with and there’s a little guy who comes down with his mum who’s got some kind of disability. He’s taken a shine to me and visits twice a week. He always buys a magazine off me. I’m really fond of him too. It’s good when something like that happens; sometimes it’s not about the money, it’s about starting to see what life’s all about.

I’ve just done a year on a painting, decorating and plastering course at Cardiff and Vale College, and I’m waiting to find out if I’ve been accepted for a second year. I should know quite soon. That’s what I’m looking at doing once I get properly qualified – I really enjoy it.

I also want to take part in the Homeless World Cup that kicks off this weekend in Cardiff, as football, along with boxing and fishing, are what I’m most passionate about. However, I do need to get a little fitter first. One of the guys who’s on the posters round town works in The Big Issue office in Cardiff so I’ll need to get on to him about it. I support Everton and I’m looking forward to seeing how they get on next season.

Interview: Alan Woodhouse

Photo David Wagstaffe

The Big Issue

Sign up to get your FREE Doctor Who Archive Special

Celebrate the 14th series with your FREE edition of the Dr Who Special Archives