Brian Wilson, 38, outside M&S, Perth

“Gambling is why my life fell apart, and it affected people close to me. I want to make amends for that”

I’ve been selling the magazine for five months and it’s been really, really brilliant so far. Everybody has been so supportive and, while perhaps some people have particular prejudices about vendors, all my customers have been really helpful, not just financially but emotionally too.

A few have made a joke about my name being the same as the singer from The Beach Boys, but I don’t sing because I’d never sell a magazine – I’ll leave the singing to him and stick to engineering!

I might share the same name as The Beach Boys singer, but I don’t sing because I’d never sell a magazine!

I came back to Scotland from London for family commitments and ended up living in a Salvation Army hostel, but now I’ve got a new flat. It’s great to finally have my independence back, I feel re-inspired. Being able to manage your finances and make sure you can pay the bills is such an important step.

I am currently studying for a Level 3 diploma at college in Domestic Core Gas Safety. I did the first part of the qualification in London, but this is a good chance to educate and retrain myself to handle all domestic appliances. It’s a start to running my own business as a gas engineer, and I’m saving up all my proceeds from selling the magazine to start one in the spring, hopefully by the end of May.

I tried to start a business up here in Scotland but it failed to get off the ground, mainly because of my gambling addiction, so I’m really determined to give it another go and make it a success.

Gambling is the main reason why my life fell apart and it didn’t just affect
mine – I had a negative effect on a lot of people close to me and I owe a lot of people money. I really want to make amends for that and pay people back.

I want to provide a reliable service when I start my business, and also give a bit back to the community

With a bit of luck, the people who have supported me with The Big Issue will continue to support my business. I’m hoping I can provide a reliable service when I start my business, and I can give a bit back to the community too. I’ve not decided how yet but it would be great to give a percentage of my earnings to charity or free boiler checks to pensioners, something like that.

I feel like things are really coming together now and 2018 will be my year.

My favourite hobby… I love cycling and fishing. Being out fishing is very therapeutic and lets me relax, particularly in bad times, while being out on the bike lets me chill out too.

Returning to religion… I’d really love to get back to church because I lost touch with my religion when my gambling got out of control. Now that I am in a better place, it would be brilliant to find a new fellowship.

On my pitch… I’m outside M&S in Perth, Mondays to Fridays, from 9am until 3pm.

Photo: Fraser Band

Marks & Spencer Perth, High Street, Perth, UK

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