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Big Issue sellers get set for Christmas in Norwich

Big Issue sellers have mixed feelings about this time of year.

Customers tend to be more generous at Christmas – but it can be a lonely time for those who are homeless and without family.

Today, Jim Graver, the magazine’s East Anglia manager, thanked the public for its support throughout the year, and said: “We certainly find that customers are more generous at this time of year, as people realise it’s a difficult and emotional time for our clients.”

One Big Issue seller, who did not wish to be named, said: “People are more generous at this time of year. I find most members of the public to be nice at Christmas.

“And the most generous people are those who probably cannot afford it.”

He is going to St Andrew’s Hall for the homeless Christmas dinner on Christmas Day, but another Big Issue seller, Simon Gravell, pictured below, who works from a pitch outside Topshop in the city centre, has other plans.

He rents a small room in a house in Aylsham Road, and said: “I’m cooking for four other Big Issue sellers at my place.

“We’ll only have chicken because it’s cheap and I’ve told them to bring their plates as I only have one set.”

He said other Big Issue sellers had other plans and some were invited to spend Christmas Day with regular customers.

The Christmas period was also a good time for him. He said: “People are more generous at Christmas. A lot of people tell us they only buy the Big Issue once a year, and that’s at Christmas.”

Big Issue seller Steve James, whose pitch is at the Guildhall, added: “A lot of people who would not normally buy the Big Issue do so at Christmas.”

He has two invitations for Christmas Day, including one from Mr Gravell, but has not decided what to do. He said: “Most of my friends have family and I don’t, but I never want to impose on them on Christmas Day.”

Have you got a story about the homeless in Norwich? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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