Lavinia arrived in the UK from Romania with her husband, looking for better jobs to support their family and started selling The Big Issue almost right away. Lavinia enjoyed speaking to her customers and over time she found that her English improved and slowly her confidence grew. 

Although Lavinia had experience working on a market stall and in a recycling factory back in Romania, she didn’t feel quite confident enough to take the next step into employment here in the UK. Getting a full-time job so that she could support her family was the goal that Lavinia strove towards and after accessing writing workshops and barista training through The Big Issue, Lavinia’s self-belief and confidence increased. It was then Lavinia decided she was ready to take the next step and apply for jobs.

With the support of one of TBI frontline workers, Lotty Talbutt, Lavinia began applying for jobs. Having identified that she had a real passion for cooking, Lotty introduced Lavinia to Lauren Saunders from Wild Thing Café. Lauren who was keen to diversify her team could see Lavinia’s potential and offered her a job in her café. 

Lavinia has gone from strength to strength, developed her skills and has graduated from kitchen helper to now being the head chef. Wild Thing café has gained a hard-working and passionate staff member and customers who are aware of the café’s social mission, and Lavinia has a job she loves.

Read more about Big Issue Group’s Impact here.