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Vendor wishes: “I don’t want to go back to crime”

Our global survey of vendors’ ambitions hits the UK today, as we speak to Ken and Macca, who both sell Big Issue North. “I’m not bothered about wealth, just health, that’s the most important thing,” says Macca. Read more here.

By Ken and Macca, Big Issue North vendors

Ken, 47, sells Big Issue North in Manchester city centre, UK – with Bailey the dog

My wish for 2017 is to stay clean of hard drugs and not go back to crime. I’ve been clean for over six years. It can be hard because of the people around on the street. If it gets too much I just pack my bags and take my dog and move on to the next town.

I hate the way they deal with homelessness in this country. It’s handled so much better in other counties. They have much better support in countries like France, Italy and Switzerland. Here, it’s all different agencies, private companies, doing bits here and there. The government should go and look at how other countries deal with homelessness and think about a different way of doing things.

I used to take scrap metal from abandoned buildings. There can be a lot money in it and it is tempting to do that again sometimes. But I’ve been in prison for it, in six different countries, and I don’t want to end up there again.

This time last year I was in a motorhome. Before that I was in a static caravan. Before that I was in an old French police riot van for a year and a half (it wasn’t being used!) So I have no idea where I’ll be this time next year.

My message to my customers for the next year would be: thank you. Keep buying the magazine. Selling the magazine is better than stealing scrap metal for a living, isn’t it?

Macca, 46, sells Big Issue North in Bilton, Hull, UK

If I could be granted three wishes, basically it would that my family, my partner and myself had excellent health next year. I’m not bothered about wealth, just health, that’s the most important thing. The second wish would be for something to happen that would try and address world peace. And the third wish is that I hope to get more customers to help me earn a living.

In 2017, I want to do a creative writing course. I like writing and some of my poems have appeared in Big Issue North. I’d like to progress and see if I can do something with that.

I think the UK government needs to prioritise local people. I know there are a lot of other people who need our help as well but I think that our own people should be given a chance first. Homelessness needs more funding. And there should be some kind of scheme where people can volunteer and then earn credits to help pay them towards where they live.

The world is on edge at the moment, wondering what Donald Trump is going to do and what he’s capable of. I hope the power doesn’t go to his head and it doesn’t affect the people of the world.

I also fear ill health. I don’t want myself or any of my family to have any health problems. In 2017, Hull is the Capital of Culture and hopefully things will be moving onwards and upwards here.

This time next year I’d like to be secure in my own employment. I’d really like to own a van and do odd jobs, but I need someone to help me out with that. Basically, I’d like to be secure in some kind of full time work and have a regular wage coming in, that would be the ideal situation.

To my customers: thank you very much for your custom and support. Even those that don’t buy the magazine but come have a chat with me. That brings a smile to my face, because I know that I’m seen as a human being because some people look down their nose at you. So thank you, for supporting me during these difficult times.

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