Photograph by Ross Swanborough
"Apart from a short stint down in Bridgetown [270km south of Perth], I have always lived in Perth. I grew up in Belmont and now live a stone’s throw away in Victoria Park. I didn’t have the best time at school and in Year 11 I decided I had had enough and it was time to find a job.
That wasn’t as easy as I thought, and I ended up spending a long time unemployed. In the end, I found some work as a medical receptionist. Over the years I have also worked in hospitality, aged care and as a car detailer. I was married for 15 months but that didn’t work out. He had mental health problems and it was too much pressure on the relationship. I am still open to finding my Prince Charming – if he exists!
I heard about The Big Issue from one of my friends, Susie, who was already selling the magazine. I first sold it in July 2014. I decided to give it a go because I was sick and tired of not having much money. I have started to build up and get to know my regulars, who stop and chat whenever I see them. This has boosted my confidence, as well as giving me some extra money. I also enjoy coming into the Big Issue office before I start my shift. It’s good to stop by to chat to the staff and it is always a happy, cheery place.
I have battled with depression on and off for a long time, but it has only recently been diagnosed. This is a real positive, as I am now starting to learn how to deal with it and have started receiving some counselling. I know that the biggest battle on some days is getting out of bed, so I make sure I come to work when I have my pitch booked.
I also make sure that I keep busy by visiting family, going to the movies or having a drink with mates at the pub! I have two nieces and a nephew that I like to spend time with. I see my nephew the most and he stays over sometimes. We play PlayStation and watch TV together. We generally get along well when he is not annoying me! I also volunteer at the Church of Christ every Saturday night, making tea and coffee for the homeless. I really enjoy giving a bit back and helping out.
In the future, I really want to get a regular job in hospitality – as a kitchen hand. It would be great to have the regular income and be able to afford to travel. I really want to get over to Adelaide so that I can visit my six-year-old goddaughter.
I am positive about the future – my personal motto is ‘Keep fighting and don’t quit’."
Caroline sells The Big Issue at London Court, St Georges Terrace, Perth.
interview by Andrew Joske photograph by Ross Swanborough
This article first appeared in Ed#494 of The Big Issue.