Petition Success! 1,000+ Sign to Support Catalin
Prescot Shopping Centre has allowed a Big Issue seller to stand under its entrance porch after over 1,000 people signed a petition in his support.
Catalin Dobre, who is originally from Romania, has sold the magazine in Prescot town centre for over three years. In October 2015, however, he crossed the street, saying he was told to move on by mall management.
Friends and shoppers were immediately concerned, as the new spot meant he had no shelter from the elements during the colder, wetter winter months.
Prescot Online approached the centre on behalf of readers, but its then-PR firm said management had “declined to comment.”
Local shopper Sue Parry took the matter further, however, and began a petition asking the centre to reconsider. Prescot Online backed the campaign and published an editorial appealing for “kindness for Catalin.” In just a few days, 1,096 lent Catalin their public support by signing the petition.
By the weekend, readers were reporting that Catalin was not only back on his old patch, but was receiving handshakes, hugs and pats on the back from passers-by.
Prescot Shopping Centre responded this Tuesday, 24 November, with a statement that read:
Prescot shopping centre has confirmed that the Big Issue seller continues to sell the magazine outside of its premises. He is very welcome to remain on this pitch as long as our customers are not unduly bothered by him as they do their shopping.
“This is great news,” petition creator Sue said. “I’m made up.”
“At the same time, I’m disappointed that the centre never responded directly to the community or made an apology.
“We love Catalin, though, and we’ll keep an eye out for him to make sure he’s never asked to move on again. We’re all members of the same community, whoever we are.”
On Change.org, locals described Catalin as “always polite and smiling,” a “nice bloke,” a “lovely, pleasant man” and a “sweet gentleman.”
[Editor mea culpa: Some previous articles and social media posts mistakenly spelt Catlin’s name ‘Catalim.’]