0:02 My name is Aiden Byrne and I’m a project worker at a homeless hostel in Belfast.
00:07 The main thing it involves is sitting down with people, one to one and helping them to make positive decisions about their lives. You’re dealing with people whose lives are very sad and you tend to pick up a lot of that and, and sometimes you can be dealing with challenging behaviour and so in that sense it is, it is hard and it can be emotionally, draining and stressful. It was never what I wanted to do but it’s sort of slowly becoming what I want to do.
00:42 My father he, he started off as a tradesman and when I was born he became a, a puppeteer and, and then an actor and a poet and he was in some television programme, there was a lot of praise, he was juggling on the streets at one stage, he was part of a juggling troupe and he had a sort of social conscience as well, always, you know, really strong values in that sense, too and at a certain point, I don’t know, maybe fifteen years ago or so, he moved into community development and my mother similarly always had a strong social conscience and studied sociology and did a PhD in sociology and then worked in social research for most of her life. But because my mother did a degree I felt I picked it up in the family that I, I would do a degree, we’d all do a degree. You have to do a degree, there’s no question, you’re going to do a degree and it’s going to be in something with um, there’s no question of just uh going straight into the labour market and, and working.
01:51 I found it boring, I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t get up in the morning looking forward to it. I went to school, I saw it as something that I, I, I have to do and had to do well enough to, to do a degree.
02:03 I had studied sociology in Dublin and had a degree in sociology and then I went to the Caribbean for two years to teach English. I was working twelve hours a week and I was getting nearly thirty Euros an hour and I had about four months’ paid holidays during the year and, and for those twelve hours I was, well I, I was an English language assistant so I was working with small groups, translating the lyrics of Bob Marley songs, or watching DVDs in, in English and explaining them to the students or doing sort of projects about Ireland and Irish music and, and food and, and so on and so forth. And it was, it was, it was a great experience. I’d always wanted to travel and I was extremely lucky that this turned up.
02:59 I came back from the Caribbean when my partner was pregnant and she’s from Belfast so she wanted to live in the area and, and at that stage I had hoped to get a job directly related to my studies in sociology um but couldn’t and I, I would have to do a masters in something more specific like research methods or policy or something like that and my friend suggested trying working with homeless people and specifically here, she’d worked here in Oxford House, so I said OK, I’ll give it a shot.
03:33 The day I found out my partner was pregnant would be a major turning point, that’s when I decided that it wouldn’t be OK to travel around continuously, or to do things willy nilly I felt that I couldn’t balance that life with a family life, that I needed to, to get some sort of financial security.