A little news item in this week’s ‘Big Issue’caught my attention.
A Big Issue vendor called Gary Phillips got a bit behind with the rent and he worried about the impact his arrears would have on his landlord’s finances.
In early July, Gary, aged 45,chose to leave the rented property, his home for 14 months after becoming two-and-a-half months behind on rent.
It was his own choice. He wasn’t thrown out. He said that because of the ‘lockdown’ he couldn’t sell the Big Issue so he thought that it was only fair to his landlord that he left. Landlords have bills to pay too. ‘Some landlords are relying on that money too.’
So Gary went back to living in a tent and sometimes it was difficult because the weather was bad with heavy rain falling.
During lockdown Big Issue had given him money and vouchers. I was very lucky to have that and I wasn’t expecting it.
Gary who had needs of his own put them aside to help his Landlord. That was true generosity of heart.
And it had a surprising result.
He sold the Big Issue outside Sainsbury’s in Saltburn and he was much loved by the locals.
Sue and Corina Nicol heard about what Gary had done and his generosity triggered generosity in others. They set up a GoFundMe on his behalf. He was obviously delighted and thought he might get £100 or so because he was well known in the town but, in the event, the fundraising has so far brought in £1,670. Sue Nicol told the Big Issue, “It shouldn’t have to be done but I wanted to help Gary. The response is what I expected because Saltburn is a wonderful place with supportive and thoughtful people’
One man’s generosity became infectious.
This is one of the many good news stories that are coming out of the Pandemic. We need to hold on to this spirit of generosity at these difficult and dark times.
- During the lockdown between March and July, The Big Issue supported 1,665 vendors with more than£500,000 in food vouchers, meter top-ups and other help while they were forced to halt street sales to protect vendors.
You can help them in this work by (a) buying the magazine from your local vendor or (b) from The Co-op, Sainsbury’s, McColl’s and W.H.Smith’s or (c) by taking out a subscription via selectmagazines.co.uk. To receive the magazine each week: bigissue.com/subscribe
It costs £38.99 for 3 months.