Hello Everyone

Sorry it’s been a while – I have been busy writing a commissioned piece for one of my regular customer’s church magazine.  Although it was about selling the Big Issue, a subject I can always write about easily enough, it still took a while to get my brain in gear and get it right, probably because I am being paid for it!  Things have picked up a little since the paydays at the end of the month but today was a disaster due to massive problems with the trains at London Bridge station.  While the station is being rebuilt, there have been numerous occasions when the trains have not been stopping there at all, thereby cutting my customer numbers by up to 75%.  This obviously has an affect on my sales and today was such a day.  Many people told me this morning that their train arrived up to an hour and a half late.  Despite staying an extra 40 minute later than normal I only sold 5 magazines earning me a profit of £6.25 for early four hours work.  When I returned at 3pm for the evening rush hour, I still only sold 6 magazines, making the whole day a bit of a loss.  Still, there is always tomorrow…I put a message on my whiteboard last week asking if anyone had an old digital camera that they no longer needed and a lady called Caro gave me a beautiful chunky Canon.  It is very similar to the one that I learnt on during the journalism course, so I’m delighted.  I can now practise my photography until I feel confident in what I am doing.  Thank you so much, Caro!  Till next time – see you on the bridge – Sharon

Spring Is Sprung!

Today I stood on London Bridge selling this week’s Big Issue and realised that spring is finally starting to get it’s act together!  I put a message on my whiteboard asking if anyone crossing the bridge has an old digital camera that they would like to clear out of their cupboard.  Lo and behold, by 5pm I had been offered two cameras – one a small, simple one and also a larger, more complicated one for practising the skills that I learnt on my journalism course.  Many huge thanks to such generous commuters, ever willing to help out however they can.  I would also like to thank another bunch of regulars this week including – Dawn from Three Bridges, Alan the scientist, tall Nick who sails boats, Peter whose daughter makes fab brownies, Sam Chrismas, little Julie, big Simon and Paul who never fails to make me laugh (hope the gout clears up).  See you all soon, on the bridge love Sharon.

EOTO – Providing kickstarts for a lost generation

This is the article that my work-partner Sean wrote, and even though I was very ill, I still managed to take two dozen fairly decent photographs.

Pic: Sharon: Each One Teach One's director, Sarah McLoughlin, hopes to empower young people to get on with their lives Pic: Sharon: Each One Teach One’s director, Sarah McLoughlin, hopes to empower young people to get on with their lives

It seemed apt that the weather should be so wondrously bright, positive and full of promise as we approached the offices of Each One Teach One (EOTO), AKA, The University of Alternative Learning. The brainchild of  Plan B, the musician Ben Drew, was born out of the bleak riotous times of 2011; it is a real tribute to change, self-help and positivity. The registered charity’s main focus is to empower young people (14-25). By providing courses to impart useful skills such as: Hair Dressing, Boxing, Drama, Media and Music, gives the students a better chance in the workplace. They get to really feel their self-worth.

On arrival at their offices in East London I was introduced to EOTO’s Director Sarah McLoughlin. Greeted with a warm smile I felt right at home. She radiated passion for…

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Chats Palace Hope Funders Recognise Popularity

This is an exercise from my journalism course with words by me and pics by my work-partner, Sean Sales – I really enjoyed visiting Chat’s Palace in Homerton and seeing the huge range of fun stuff that they do.

Pic: Sean Sales: Sarah McLoughlin, Director at Chats Palace hopes to organise more events for the ommunity Pic: Sean Sales: Sarah McLoughlin, Director at Chats Palace hopes to organise more events for the community

By Sharon Payne

Chat’s Palace is a community space situated in a wonderful Victorian library built in 1913. The building is used for an amazing variety of events and activities designed to appeal to all ages and interests. Manager Candy Horsbrugh, the only full time member of staff, is full of enthusiasm for the building and its role in the community since the library closed in 1976.

Despite funding difficulties the space, which took on charity status in 1981, hosts barn dancing, exhibitions, workshops, youth projects, club nights for teenagers, live music, comedy nights, darkroom hire and tuition, karate, traditional music tuition, dance classes and even a knitting group for older people that they are hoping to encourage younger people to come along to.

Candy is proud of the mix of independent and…

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How the Great Big Issue Works! Part I

I thought it was about time in the scheme of things that I went over the basics of how the Big Issue works for the vendor on the street (ie. me), as even 22 years after it first appeared, many people still don’t how it is distributed, bought or sold.  To become a Big Issue vendor you must present yourself to the main office at Vauxhall, along with some sort of documentation that proves that you are homeless, vulnerably housed or in a hostel etc.  After filling in an application form you then have to present your self at a site in central London (there are a choice of 4 places) where you will be given five free copies of the Big Issue and you then have a training session in which you try to sell said five magazines.  If you are lucky enough to manage to sell anything (I didn’t!) you can then buy five more magazines at a reduced rate.  You have to complete four separate sessions of training like this before you are entitled to your permanent badge.  You are then given two weeks to raise £15 to pay a deposit on a Big Issue tabard and you can then think about where you would like to have a permanent pitch.  Every week you have to sell 35 magazines in order to entitle you to have a personal pitch which is detailed on your pitch permit.  You buy your magazines every week to sell on and you pay £1.25 for each one.  You then sell each Issue for £2.50 thereby earning half of the cover price as profit.  You will also find that people will give you a little change but insist that they do not want the magazine – so tips will be a part of your income too.  There is a lot of loyalty involved in selling the Big Issue and it is amazing how people will go out of their way to help you or to get anything that you need.  I will continue a little with this subject over the coming weeks in more detail and I will also mention some of my OWN regulars who are very special to me.  See you all soon on London Bridge, take care til’ then – love Sharon.

Many Thanks for a Great Birthday!

Huge thanks to everyone on London Bridge on Tuesday morning who went out of their way to give me good wishes, cards and gifts.  Despite a chest infection that has not been touched by antibiotics, and feeling rather rough, I had a fabulous morning being spoiled by some lovely thoughtful people!  Hopefully I will feel better shortly and I will be back to blogging more often – see you all on the bridge – love Sharon.