Bristol Legend : Jack, Park Street Big Issue Vendor

This week is Bristol Homeless Action Week, a celebration of the work Bristol is doing to prevent homelessness and empower the public to get involved and make a change. It also sees the launch of Caring in Bristol’s campaign #WeCare that aims to highlight the misconceptions and stigma that surround the discussion about homelessness in Bristol and the UK.

There is loads you can do to get involved and we encourage you to do so! In celebration we’re championing Jack Richardson, a Big Issue vendor based on Park Street, who not only found love on the streets of Bristol but has also changed how he makes his money with an ingenious solution…

It all started when Jack asked Toni for some help, not having enough money for her electricity metre Toni explained why she couldn’t give any change and in return Jack gave her 50p so she didn’t have to spend Christmas in the dark – and the rest is a Bristol love story.

They celebrated their three year wedding anniversary recently and are still going strong. Bristol, you lovely lot, helped pay for their wedding and even gave them enough money so they had some left over for a cooker and other bits for their home.

Jack says “My customers have been so supportive. They are amazing and they supported me enough to get two weeks off recently. I grew up in Cornwall and one of my customers gave me a holiday to Cornwall with my missus. Who does that? Bristol does that. Park St is amazing. I worship my regulars. Best place on earth.”

And it’s not just love that Jack has found, it’s also an ingenious way to make more money as a Big Issue vendor. Being a lovely man obviously keeps his regulars coming back, but Jack also invested in a contactless card machine.

“Card reader is so cool. Some days I take more on wave, it’s a curve, its gonna grow. It’s especially good on the 4th week on the pay cycle when drawing a tenner is tough but they can do a wave pay to me.”

Jack, you Bristol Legend, please keep us smiling on our journeys up and down Park Street and continue to change the image of homelessness.

(Photos by Colin Moody)