Rob, 46, Longfield, Kent

“If money was no object, I’d take my dog Molly and walk right round the coast of Britain”

It’s a nice place to sell the magazine, Longfield. It’s a very relaxed place, quite posh and leafy. I grew up in Croydon, south London, but the family moved out here to Kent many years ago. I take the work seriously, sell a lot of magazines, and I have some great customers here who’ve really supported me.

I was there right at the beginning of The Big Issue, 25 years ago, when I was young and homeless in London, so I remember when the magazine was only 50p. I helped out with the distribution of the mags as well as selling it myself because it was very much all-hands-on-deck in those early days.

A relationship breakdown hit me hard, and I lost my way

I moved on to other things. I’ve had quite a few jobs over the years, mostly as a mechanic – but it’s become very computerised, very technical, and I lost interest.

After a relationship breakdown a few years ago, which hit me hard, I lost my way again and I ended up sleeping on the streets. But The Big Issue helped me pick myself up and get myself sorted again.

At the moment, I’m living at the bottom of my mum’s garden. I built a little shed there. I made it out of wooden pallets and silver insulation sheets I found in skips. It’s pretty good. It’s watertight, and it was warm enough to get me through this winter. I’ve got a kettle and a toaster and a little radio. I’m quite happy sitting back listening to Radio 2 in my little shed.

I’m quite resourceful – a bit of an outdoors type, I suppose. With The Big Issue I like the fact you’re out and about and every day is different. I like going for long walks. I’ve seen quite a bit of the South West and south coast.

Of course I’ve always got Molly with me wherever I go. She’s a four-year-old Staffie, and I’ve had her since she was about four weeks old. She’s a very good-natured little dog.

If money was no object, if I ever managed to save up enough, I’d love to take Molly and walk right round the coast of Britain. That would be wonderful. I reckon it’d take me about two to three years, maybe.

But what an adventure that would be.

My favourite place… Land’s End. It’s wonderful there – 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.

Gone fishin’… There’s nothing like fishing on a sunny day. You just sit there, thinking about nothing at all, letting the time run away.

On my pitch… Molly and I are outside Waitrose in Longfield daily from
9am-4pm.

Photo: Andy Barnes

Longfield, Kent, United Kingdom

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