By June Fullerton, The Big Issue UK vendor
I’ve been a vendor for over four years now. I first heard about it listening to John Bird on the TV or radio – I can’t remember which – and I liked the idea of working your way out of trouble.
I was doing badly at the time. My husband had died a year earlier and I’d struggled to cope with everything on my own. I was unemployed, I let the bills go, I was in a lot of debt – a hell of a lot of debt. I was facing losing the house and really worried if I’d be able to keep a roof over my head. That was the worst thing.
So I started selling the magazine in Westbourne. I really enjoyed it. Because I’d lived locally all of my life, a lot of my customers got to know me and seemed to warm to me. And of course it put some money in my pocket, as I tried to deal with the debts and kept the electricity on in the house.
Thanks to the staff at The Big Issue and some help from the local Citizens Advice Bureau, I managed to get a debt relief order, and slowly but surely I began to get on top of things.
I got a companion about a year ago – my dog Jack. I’d never had a dog but we’ve got along great. He’s a Staffie-cross and a good-natured soul. I inherited him because a previous owner was mistreating him. Jack’s with me on my pitch all the time – even when it’s raining he’s as good as gold.
One of my favourite things to do is walk Jack along the beach between Westbourne and Bournemouth in the evenings. I like it when it’s quiet. But in summer, when it’s still light, it’s a very nice stroll. I have fond memories of growing up here and spending the summer on the beach. I love Westbourne and Bournemouth – it’s quite a posh area but people are very friendly.
I recently completed a level two door supervision course at one of the hotels here, with the aim of working as a door supervisor. It’s just very tough finding work. In the meantime, I’ll keep plugging away. I’m certainly very grateful to The Big Issue and all my customers for the support I’ve had.
My best holiday… Inverness in Scotland. I’d always wanted to go, and a few years ago I finally went. It was beautiful – as lovely as I’d imagined.
My favourite place… Bournemouth Pier. I have fond memories of spending six-week summers off school along the beach and around the pier. Fantastic.
On my pitch… I’m outside Iceland, Poole St, Westbourne, from 9am until the early afternoon.
June was speaking to Adam Forrest.