Bruno, House of Fraser, Manchester

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in 1988 and I am from Latvia originally. I came here in 2010.

‘I’d heard there was music, art and culture here. I like this city.’

Why did you come to the UK?
There weren’t any jobs in my country. A lot of young people were going away, looking for other work. So I thought I’d give it a go. There was no future there and it can get depressing, when you look into the future and see nothing. No job, no money. I thought maybe it is better to leave rather than stay. If I can find a job and live here. Why not?

And why did you come to Manchester?
I’d heard there was a lot of music, art and culture here. I like this city.

What happened when you arrived?
I was homeless when I came here first. Then I saw people selling the Big Issue North and I started doing that. I sold the magazine for about six months first of all. I got a place in a hostel and then in my own flat, and I started working as a postman and delivery driver. That was all good, but then I had to stop working because the depression came again. I stopped paying my rent and bills and I got into a lot of debt. I did offer to try and get a new job and to pay my rent, but my landlord didn’t believe I would, so he took me to court and they kicked me out.

Where are you now?
I am on the streets again. It’s tough. Really tough. The weather is getting hard now. It’s very wet and it’s getting cold. It can get lonely on the streets, especially when you don’t talk to anybody. So it’s good to come into the office to speak to people and to talk to people on my pitch. There are some nice people there who come and ask me how I am and bring me cups of tea and things like that.

Your English is very good, where did you learn to speak so well?
I am quite good at languages. I can also speak German, Russian, Spanish and a bit of French. Learning languages is like anything, you just have to study. I don’t think I have a special talent or anything. I was studying in Latvia, but I had to stop because of the financial situation.

What do you hope for in the future?
My plan is to get off the streets and get a new job soon. But it was good knowing I could come back to sell Big Issue North when things went wrong. I’m not the kind of person who can beg and selling the magazine is better than doing nothing. Just a couple of pounds in my pocket is better than nothing at all.

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