“In my twenties…there was no Simon there at the time, no help at all. I was hungry every day with no sleep, no blanket“
Thanks to the support of people like you, we were able to help Padraig* when he needed it the most.
At Galway Simon Community, we provide a safe place to stay for many homeless people across Galway City and County. Padraig along with many others avail of our services daily and Galway Simon may be their only sources of support. From family breakdowns to battling addiction, Padraig has been through it all. When he began his battle with homelessness there was no services like our Bridge Resource Centre. This service works with people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in the Ballinasloe area to provide them with advice, support and a place where they can come to have something to eat or use shower facilities
Padraig has been a client of the Bridge Resource Centre since they opened their doors. It was a place for him to find food, warmth and most importantly get the support he needed. Following a family breakdown, Padraig found himself with nowhere to live. He began sleeping rough and drinking heavily. He then ended up in what he describes a damp, cold shed.“Sometimes I’d go up there drunk but you’re warm when you’re drunk. It’s when you go up there sober, that’s when it hits you”The shed was a very scary and lonely place, especially at night. Following a winters night, Padraig would often turn up at the Bridge Resource Centre purple with the cold. Padraig feared he would die in there. His health was also deteriorating rapidly. From years of drinking and sleeping rough, his health had taken a hit and he thought there would be no return from this. He had serious issues with his kidneys, suffered a heart attack which left him in a coma, and on Christmas Day he was found in the shed with hypothermia and rushed to hospital.“I had a heart attack and everything. Even when I had the heart attack and I was in hospital and getting better, I was headed back drinking again, that’s what I had in my head to do”Padraig’s life took another turn when his wife passed away. He deteriorated both physically and mentally and this is when he hit rock bottom. Padraig then decided to take Galway Simon up on their offer of help. He finally decided it was time for him to make a change and come off the drink. Padraig was given a room in one of our long-term houses.
Padraig never believed his life could change as much as it has. He now has a roof over his head, food on the table and the continued support that he needs. After being placed in Galway Simon’s long-term housing, he has worked on developing his independence. Padraig has developed a flair for cooking and enjoys preparing his meals on a Saturday night. He has also completed a bike maintenance course and is working on improving his education.Padraig has had a long battle with homelessness but now is fortunate enough to say he has somewhere to call home and his life is vastly different. He is now living independently and has Galway Simon on hand for any support he needs. Thankfully, he’s now in recovery and attends regular meetings to stay sober.“I can’t thank god enough, gave me a chance to live…I never enjoyed my life, I am now”It is never too late to change and turn your life around, whatever the situation is. Padraig is prime example of this. Galway Simon never gives up on people, including Padraig. Whether it takes us 6 months or 20 years, Galway Simon will work tirelessly to ensure the needs of all of our clients are met.
If you’d like to help us make a difference in others’ lives, you can make a donation or check out other ways to get involved.