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Big Issue vendors meet John Bird MBE

Big Issue vendors meet John Bird MBE

Vendors with John BirdJohn Bird MBE, founder of The Big Issue – the national organisation supporting homeless people into work, attended Shelter Cymru’s pre-conference reception and annual conference on 27th June.

As main sponsors of the event, we invited 3 Big Issue vendors to join John Bird at the reception held at Tapestri Café Bar & Bistro. Vendors; Gheoghita Stan, Andrew George-Thomas and Marius Roman were invited to attend in recognition of our recent Vendor of the Month awards campaign run in partnership with The Big Issue Cymru. Vendor of the Month gave us a great opportunity to spotlight individuals selling The Big Issue in our town centres every day and gain a little insight into their lives. 

Each vendor has his own pitch within the city; Gheoghita works in the Mumbles, Andrew in the Quadrant and Marius in the Uplands. All have become well-known, friendly faces within their communities.

Speaking of his evening at Tapestri, vendor Andrew George-Thomas said “I could not fault the evening; the music was great and the food was fantastic, I would definitely go back. It was great to meet John Bird for the evening and I was surprised at how down to earth he is. I really enjoyed my night with him as he loves to talk and so do I. Thank you to Gwalia and Shelter Cymru for the opportunity”. 

Our Executive Director of Social Care & Supporting People Richard Davies said: "It was a pleasure to welcome John Bird, Andrew, Gheoghita and Marius to Tapestri for the reception. We are really happy that we can support like-minded organisations such as ourselves and will continue to support the work of The Big Issue Cymru."

Andrew also attended the annual conference and had the opportunity to meet John Puzey, Director of Shelter Cymru, as well as people from not-for-profit organisations working throughout Wales to support people and communities in housing and personal crises.

John Bird MBE, Founder of The Big Issue Foundation said, "Shelter Cymru started their great conference with a night at Tapestri. We ate, talked and drunk in the wonderful surrounds of this impressive, innovative and exciting social project. Both Shelter and Gwalia should be praised for their work. I was truly pleased to be among the innovators."

Shelter Cymru’s People and Homes Conference 2013 took place at the Swansea Marriot Hotel last Thursday, 27th June and welcomed a host of speakers from across the UK and Europe to discuss current issues within housing and support.

Speaking of the conference Michelle Wales, Shelter Cymru’s Head of Campaigns, said: "This year’s conference highlighted the challenges and opportunities ahead for everyone involved in housing, we were delighted to not only having vendors of the month present but also members of Shelter Cymru’s Citizen’s panel. Panel members are currently contributing to the development of our service delivery and a proposed new housing service user standard for Wales."