Community rallies around pregnant Crouch End Big Issue vendor

A pregnant Big Issue vendor has been overwhelmed by generous offers of support from local parents.

Claudia Tabitha, 23, started selling the Big Issue at the Waitrose on Crouch End Broadway just two weeks ago, but she has already felt the warm welcome of the community.

Now four months pregnant, she was pleasantly surprised when approached by Crouch End mother Yvette Smith, who launched the campaign last week for her to receive maternity clothes donations.

Ms Smith wanted to do something to help and she felt that donating secondhand maternity wear would be the most direct.

Big Issue vendors are not allowed to beg at the same time as selling the magazine.

“I do need things,” Miss Tabitha said. “They’re nice people. It’s a good idea and if I could help someone else, I would.

“I’m embarrassed, but happy.”

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Miss Tabitha first came to England from Romania three years ago and she still speaks broken English, although she is perfecting her Big Issue sales patter.

She is delighted to have started receiving maternity clothing, including a warm coat and two jumpers, while standing outside Waitrose on a Tuesday and Friday.

A first-time mother, Miss Tabitha is not quite sure to expect, but she’s already thinking about what she might need - a cot, pram, nappies and powdered milk.

All Big Issue vendors are either homeless or “vulnerably housed” and Miss Tabitha rents in Tottenham Hale, although she appears nervous about rent hikes and sudden demands from her landlord.

The mother-to-be is receiving limited support from her boyfriend, who also works as a Big Issue seller.

The couple grew up together in Bucharest, although they first started dating three years ago when they both moved to London.

Miss Tabitha, who worked as a cleaner when she first arrived in England, described how in Bucharest there were “no jobs; nothing to do.”

For now, she is excited about starting a new family in London, and has high hopes for the New Year.

“People are more generous in the run-up to Christmas,” she said.

- Claudia Tabitha sells the Big Issue on the Crouch End Broadway from 10am-5pm, Tuesday to Friday.