Stuart Drucker, 43, MacKintosh Centre, Keppoch St, Cardiff

"My customers aren’t judgemental when they hear what I’ve been through"

I’ve been selling The Big Issue for a few years now. The magazine has helped me slowly put my life back in place. I had been on the streets of Cardiff, totally lost to drink and drugs, but a few years back I decided to get clean and turn things around.

Selling the magazine has been a big part of my recovery – it gave me a sense of purpose, as well as putting money in my pocket. The Salvation Army also really helped by getting me into supported accommodation and putting me through a rehabilitation programme. Recently I got a small council flat, so it’s all coming together.

Photo: Jake Morley

There have been a lot of breakthroughs in the past few years. I feel healthier, and stronger mentally. I did a 10K run through Cardiff with some of The Big Issue staff here – we all ran together and raised money for Kidney Wales.

For the past couple of summers I’ve been selling the magazine at the Green Gathering festival in Chepstow, and the Hay Festival. The Green Gathering is a kind of hippy festival with lots of music, craft stalls, food, talks and discussions. It’s amazing – a real community feel. Hay Festival is wonderful too – lots of books people who are really interested in The Big Issue.

I love chatting with people when I sell the magazine – my customers are not judgemental when they hear what I’ve been through, and some open up about their own lives. I sell at farmers’ markets in Cardiff – the Roath market on a Saturday and the Riverside market opposite the Millennium Stadium on a Sunday. I’m a big rugby fan.

Now I’ve got my own place and I’ve been able to reconnect with my daughter and three step-kids

I also love fishing. I used to enjoy doing that up at Caerphilly Castle – it’s difficult to explain the appeal to people who haven’t done it – it’s just a very relaxing thing to do. You switch your mind off. I’d like to get back into fishing if I can find the time.

Now I have my own place, I’ve been able to reconnect with my daughter and three step-kids. My daughter will come round and we’ll sit and have a chat and watch the telly. That’s been lovely.

You have to work at your recovery but you need support too. I’m very grateful for it because life is a lot better now than it’s been for many years.

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The place I’d love to visit… Alaska. I love the idea of living in the wilderness there and being self-sufficient. The cold wouldn’t bother me, not too much, anyway.

My favourite sport… Rugby. I’m not a regular follower of the leagues but I’m always keen to watch or hear how Wales gets on in the Six Nations or other tournaments.

On my pitch… I’m at the MacKintosh Centre on Keppoch St, 10am-5pm, during the week

Mackintosh Residents Community Centre, Keppoch St, Cardiff, United Kingdom