Prescot Opinion: Kindness for Catalin

By on Tuesday, November 17, 2015

catalim[Update 19/11/15: Catalin appears to be back in his old place, under the porch. Prescot Shopping Centre have yet to publicly respond.]

Come on, Prescot Shopping Centre, have a heart.

Catalin, from Romania, has been selling the Big Issue on Eccleston Street for going on three years. He is polite and well-liked.

Shoppers have noticed he no longer stands in the covered entrance to Prescot Shopping Centre, where he is sheltered from the wind and rain. Instead, he stands out in the open on the other side of the street, outside Heron. The mall’s management told him to move on, he told a Prescot Online reader.

I like Catalim, too, and I often buy a magazine and exchange greetings, a smile and sometimes a handshake as I pass.

So I emailed Prescot Shopping Centre in my capacity as editor of Prescot Online and asked why they no longer allowed him to keep warm and dry in their porch. An apologetic PR person replied to say sorry, but the new management had declined to comment.

Catalin himself has not asked for any attention for this, but many Prescot Online readers have shown concern for him – so many that one started a petition for the centre to give him back his old patch.

Neither I nor any of the signatories so far – 293 after just a couple of hours – have ever known our friend to be a nuisance or cause an obstruction. We just want him to have some shelter during the colder months as he goes about his job.

The support this has generated from the local community on Facebook so far overwhelms me.

“If he wants me to stand with him, I will,” said Sue Parry, who created the petition at

“Bloody shame,” said Tony. “He’s doing no harm.”

“He’s a nice chap. Hope he gets something sorted out,” added John.

This isn’t a witch hunt against Prescot Shopping Centre, or an attempt to publicly shame them (we love the Shopping Centre and want to see it thrive!) We just care about a member of our community, and we want the centre to hear us and do the right thing.

Sign the petition: Allow Catalin, the Big Issue seller, to stand under the porch at Prescot Shopping Centre.



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