Steven Murray sold The Big Issue for just under a year between 2010 and 2011 while living in supported accommodation at Blue Triangle in Glasgow.
“I was told, ‘Steven, we think you would be great if you had a chance at a wee job.’ But nobody would take me on because I had a criminal record and a drug addiction,” he says.
“They told me about The Big Issue so I travelled up 15 miles to Glasgow from Balloch [at the southern end of Loch Lomond] and they got me set up and I loved it. It gave me a purpose to get up in the morning, to talk to people, to go out, to feel good. I was still a drug user at the time but that gave me the strength to get on with my programme.
“People started seeing me as a person and I was blessed to have that support.”
Since then, Murray, 39, was able to move out of the homeless project and move in with his wife Lisa. The father of two now owns a cleaning business with his partner, Eco Clean, which employs people who have battled homelessness or drug addiction in the past.
The pair have been key workers throughout the pandemic and are even qualified crime scene cleaners on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to support the police.