Michael Hall, 28, Pero’s Bridge, Bristol Harbour
“I’ve tried to get agency work, but I’m not eligible when I’m of ‘no fixed abode’. It’s a Catch-22 situation”
I’ve been selling the magazine here in the harbour area of Bristol for the past few months. It’s been going well. I’ve got some great customers. Some of them will buy cups of tea and coffee to keep me going, and there’s one of my customers who takes me out for a meal.
I’m from Leicester originally. I’ve had various jobs up there over the years – from cleaning jobs to warehouse work. For a while I was a supervisor in a Subway shop. But it was always agency work, and agency work is temporary contracts, so it never lasted too long.
I’ve got some great customers – one of them takes me out for a meal
Although my connection with Bristol goes back a few years, I actually returned to Leicester earlier this year for a job working for a logistics company, unloading containers. But it was a last-one-in, first-one-out situation. So I came back to Bristol. My brother had been living here, but he’s moved, so I didn’t have anywhere to stay and had no local connection.
I’m sleeping rough at the moment. I’ve tried to find agency work here, but I’m not eligible when I’m still of ‘no fixed abode’. So it feels like a Catch-22 situation. My main focus is getting somewhere to live in Bristol, then I can get serious about full-time work.
I do love Bristol. There are some lovely buildings around here, and I’ve been to a couple of the art galleries. But mostly it’s all about the people. The people are just very friendly and relaxed here – there’s a proper sense of community.
On a Tuesday I’ll play pool in the Allstars Sports Bar when it’s half-price. It makes life feel normal for a while. I’ve loved snooker and pool ever since my dad sent me off to the snooker hall when I was 13. He said it would be a good outlet for me. I took to it and ended up spending hours in there every day.
On Tuesdays I play pool. It makes life feel normal for a while
Selling The Big Issue has been great. It’s put some money in my pocket, allowed me to save a bit in the hope of getting out of this situation.
It’s also put some purpose in my day – giving me something to focus on, because it’s when I have nothing to do that my problems tend to start. My customers are the ones who have kept me going, so massive thanks to them.
My football hero…Sir Alex Ferguson. I’m a big Manchester United fan. More than any single player, Sir Alex was the reason for all the success. An absolute legend.
My snooker hero… Mark Selby. He’s a Leicester lad, like me, so I was delighted to watch him become the world No 1. I’d been watching him on the pool circuit before he went into snooker.
On my pitch… I’m at Pero’s Bridge, Bristol Harbour, from 9.30am until 8pm.
Photo: Sean Malyon
Pero's Bridge, Bristol, United Kingdom