Stuart, 45, Green Park Station, Bath

"I was a head chef and used to have my own business. But it was too stressful, and I had a nervous breakdown"

I’m building this pitch up because another vendor had it before, and so now I’m trying to get some new clients and find some more people who might want to buy the magazine. I’m also getting to know the market people – they’re good as gold.

It’s going well. Last week I sold 55 which is very good. And this week it’s selling well, it’s a good cover and a lot of people are interested in the story about the Royal College of Nursing sponsoring our tabards.

For me, selling the magazine is all about being polite and courteous. I don’t shout things, but I say, ‘Good morning ma’am, would you like a Big Issue today?’

I’m sleeping rough in Bath at the moment, change where I sleep every night

My customers are very good. There’s one guy called Mark who works in the market, every day he’ll bring me coffee, maybe a home-made flapjack or some banana cake. He buys the magazine every Monday.

I’m sleeping rough in Bath at the moment. I change where I sleep every night, but I can’t see any prospect of anything more settled in the near future because I don’t have a local connection.

I’m a head chef by trade and I used to have my own business running a café and catering firm in Cheltenham. I was going to people’s houses, putting on birthday parties, wedding parties, stuff like that. But it was too stressful, and eventually I had a nervous breakdown.

DID YOU KNOW…

In total, more than 92,000 people have sold The Big Issue since 1991 to help themselves work their way out of poverty – more than could fit into Wembley Stadium.

Then I just ended up on the streets – in Bristol, Manchester, London, Birmingham and now in Bath. But now I’m selling the magazine and I’m doing well.

For me it’s about respecting people. If they’re having a bad day you go up and say, ‘I’m here if you want to talk.’ I do that for all my customers.

I’m done with catering now, it’s too stressful. I’d like to get into working with homeless people. I’m interested in doing outreach work, getting out in the morning to give rough sleepers tea and coffee and trying to get to know them.

I support Man City, but because I’m sleeping rough, I can only watch it through a pub window

I think with my experience I’d be good at helping them get back into a normal reality. I’m a good motivator I think.

This Christmas I’ll probably still be on the streets. There are a few places I can go on Christmas Day, Julian House night shelter will be open so I could go in there so I’m not on my own.

My team… I’m a Man City supporter but when you’re on the streets it’s tough. I have to watch it through a pub window or I nip into the bookies to have a look.

My Christmas wish… I’d love to be in my own flat by Christmas, but I know that won’t happen. That would be my one wish though.

On my pitch… I’m at Green Park Station daily from 9am until 5pm.

Photo: Sean Malyon

Green Park Station, Green Park Road, Bath
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