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Big Issue vendors tell of the joys of being outdoors

“The mind and the body operate in unison and follow each other. If we walk uphill too fast then our thoughts will become stressed.”

Big Issue vendors spend their working lives outside – but plenty of them spend their free time in the great outdoors too.

These vendors, who recently returned to their pitches along with hundreds of Big Issue sellers in England Wales, tell us why they love connecting with nature.

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Rob Lovett

“I’m a bit of an outdoors type, I like going for long walks. I’ve seen quite a bit of the 
south-west and south coast. And of course I’ve always got my dog Molly with me wherever I go.

“My favourite part of the country is Land’s End. It’s wonderful – the sea down there on the coast is proper blue, a pure kind of blue colour, so you can see the bottles at the bottom.”

Rob’s plans for a charity walk of the entire length of the UK with Molly were put on hold last year by the pandemic. He still plans to complete the challenge when restrictions allow. He sells The Big Issue in Longfield in Kent.

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Anabel

“Although I haven’t gardened professionally, it’s the only skill I was really born with. It really means a lot to me to not only give something but to offer it completely from the heart.

“There is one garden in Glasgow that I hope to really be able to give my loving attention to one day.”

Anabel sells The Big Issue in Buchanan Street in Glasgow

Richard Cotterill

“The mind and the body operate in unison and follow each other. If we walk uphill too fast then our thoughts will become stressed. If our thoughts are already stressed then, most likely, we’ll take on a rather rapid and uneven gait which will surely tire us.

“It’s probably impossible to see an angry person slowly ambling along like they don’t have a care in the world.”

Richard has worked as a trekking guide in Nepal, Morocco, Spain and France. He is a Big Issue vendor in Wadebridge

Mike McCall

“In 2005 I was in the Hexham area looking for work. I was trying to get hired in a timber processing factory and just over the bridge there was a woodland. It was wintertime and -2C but I set up my camp. I had a little two-person tent and I used a hessian-type material to go over it for some extra insulation.

“There was a fantastic view of the town from my hillside and I lived like that for a few weeks. It was strange, living that lifestyle but having a millionaire’s view.”

Mike grew up on a farm and is now saving to start his own smallholding. He sells The Big Issue in Cambridge

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Learn more about our impact

When most people think about the Big Issue, they think of vendors selling the Big Issue magazines on the streets – and we are immensely proud of this. In 2022 alone, we worked with 10% more vendors and these vendors earned £3.76 million in collective income. There is much more to the work we do at the Big Issue Group, our mission is to create innovative solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunity for the 14million people in the UK living in poverty.

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