Why do you sell the magazine?
I sell the magazine for my family, for myself. It’s good for me. I pay for rent, for food, for clothes, for electric, for council tax. This is my job. It is important.
‘People are good to me on my pitch. They ask about my family.’
Do you have a good pitch?
Oh yes. I have been selling there for six years. People are good to me on my pitch. They ask about my family. They have respect for me there, and I have respect for them. They ask me to look after their dogs, after their bags. This is all part of my job! I sell outside Morrison’s and the manager there is also very good to me. He looks out for me and always asks me how I am.
How many children do you have?
I have nine children. The eldest is 16 and the youngest is three. We don’t want any more children! My wife stays at home and looks after the children. She takes them to school and looks after the house.
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Romania. The wages are low in Romania and there is very little child benefit. For one child you get £10 a month. We moved to England in 2008. We came here for my family – so my children can go to school, practise English, and so that I could find work.
Are you learning English now?
Yes. Me and my wife go to school twice a week to learn English. I would like a new job and having good English is important. My children all speak English at home. But when I am angry with them I shout in Romanian!
What are your plans for the future?
Maybe next month I will apply for a British passport for me and my family. Four of my children were born here. We will not be going back to Romania. To my children, Romania
is not their home. The schools are good here. The heath here is good. I have a good job here.
What do you do in your spare time?
The day for my family is Sunday. We go to the park. We go shopping. Once a week we go to McDonald’s for a treat. I also play games on the computer at home, and we use the computer to help us learn English as well.
And we are Christians. We go to church every week. Religion is very important for me.
Do you have other family in Romania?
My dad died three years ago. My mum died four months ago. I have two sisters and one brother. One sister has a disability. She cannot talk. She lives in Romania with my other sister and they are very close to my heart. I send them money from Big Issue North every month to pay for tablets. You have to pay for all the medical things in Romania.
What makes you happy?
My family. My children.