Amanda Hill, 40, Duke Street, Cardiff
‘We’ve lost a few friends on the streets’
I started selling The Big Issue about six months ago after I was arrested three times in two weeks for begging. I was fined £500 and that left me with nothing. The Big Issue’s outreach team had been asking me for ages to start selling the magazine. So that is when I took it seriously. And The Big Issue has been a big help – I had no confidence when I started selling, but it has really helped me to feel more confident. I have also been able to get myself off drugs and have been clean for a while.
As well as selling the magazine, I’m a carer for my husband, who is losing his sight. He’s almost completely blind and has some mental health problems. We have been together for nine years and married for four.
I met him in a care home when I was visiting my brother. I wasn’t looking for a relationship – I’d been in a violent one before so I’d been single for four years – but we got talking, started flirting then fell in love. He’s great and so caring and loving, but losing his sight is hard on him.
I’ve been on the march many times. I love it
We are in temporary accommodation as of three months ago and it wouldn’t have been possible without The Big Issue. Over the winter we were staying in a tent and it was horrible. During the snow and the Beast from the East it was difficult to maintain body heat and our tent broke so our clothes were constantly wet through.
Another person who was sleeping rough across from us in the park actually died in the cold. We have lost quite a few friends and family on the streets.
It’s really hard to juggle caring for my husband as well as selling The Big Issue. Having an address is helping me to get medication for him so things are starting to get better. I’m saving up for a card machine so I can sell a few more magazines – I get a lot of people saying they don’t have any cash.
This week in the magazine you can read about the impact the Spice Girls made on people’s lives. I loved Girl Power and how each member was so distinct. There’s also a piece looking at how Britain became ‘don’t it yourself’. I do all the DIY because of the skills I learned living on my own before I got married. And there’s an investigation into library closures. I think it’s sad to see them go – I’ve got into reading again and they’re important places for using computers and making phone calls.
I’ll be selling at Pride this weekend – it’s a big thing that I have supported for years. A couple of my family members are gay. I’ve been on the march many times. I love it. And my family and friends will be there again this time to march with me.
I may be married to a man, but I am pansexual and how I feel is that if you love someone it doesn’t matter about their sex or gender, it’s about who the person is on the inside.
When I realised I was pansexual I didn’t put it on Facebook and I didn’t feel I could tell many people other than my family and a few close friends. I do think there is still some discrimination there and it is events like Pride that help to fix that.
Casting my mind back
I haven’t got any gear or tackle at the moment but I’d love to get back into fishing. I started at the age of three when my dad was part of the boat club and I’d love to get back to it – I was really good.
I used to swim for Cardiff when I was at school. I was up early to train for an hour before school and a couple of hours afterwards. Now I’m on medication and I’m able to exercise, I’m looking forward to doing it again.
Image: David Wagstaffe
Duke St, Cardiff CF10 1AY, UK