Working for St Pat's

Fiona Kirkcaldy | From a private collection
Fiona Kirkcaldy
From a private collection
Steps of St Patrick's, Brighton | From a private collection
Steps of St Patrick's, Brighton
From a private collection

I returned to the UK from Kenya in 2000. I had until that point spent the majority of my life in Africa where I worked as both a teacher and freelance researcher. Africa is a fascinating continent full of diversity and vibrancy, but there were also some acute social brought about by issues such as civil war, famine, HIV/AIDS, and massive population growth. Hence, I have always felt a strong desire to work in an anvironment that gives me the opportunity to assist people who are, for a multitude of reasons, less fortunate than I feel I have been.

I spent the first year I was back doing an MA in Development Studies; this course essentially focused on poverty alleviation and how to improve the lives of disenfranchised and socially excluded populations. When I finished the course I applied for a job, as a tutor, at St. Patrick’s as I felt working with and for the homeless was an appropriate choice as they also often face/have many social problems

I have enjoyed working for St. Pat’s enormously; it has been an interesting experience and has certainly broadened my mind. Many people have stereotypical and erroneous views on the homeless; I have found that many homeless people have had some pretty appalling life experiences and just need a bit of encouragement, support and respect to help them get back on their feet.

I am 34 years old, and have a 9-year-old daughter, called Alice, who is actually an angel disguised as a little girl.

Comments about this page

  • It is so pleasing to see that these pages are still available to people. 10 years on I am still in Brighton and thriving (I’m sure you’ll be pleased to hear) but could not have got through my dark days without the help of people like Fiona.

    By Tommy Coyne (05/07/2013)

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