‘This is my second chance and I’m going to grab it’

Trevor lost everything when he became homeless, and considered suicide in the depths of his depression.

But thanks to a placement on Cork Simon’s Step to Work scheme, he is getting his life back on track, and is planning on going back to college.

“I always said growing up that I would hate to be homeless. I never thought it would happen to me,” he said. “I thought living on the streets would be the end of me, that I would end up in a box. I felt small and tiny — it was a low as I ever got. I even thought about throwing myself in the river.

“But I am just so grateful now to everybody for giving me a chance at a fresh start.”

Trevor, 27, always wanted to be a chef and spent a year training as a commis chef.

He worked in the kitchens of some of Cork’s top hotels and restaurants, and even spent a day working with celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, on one of his visits to a local hotel.

But Trevor began to experiment with illegal drugs at the age of 18.

His abuse of alcohol, cannabis, cocaine and ketamine led him in to a spiral which ultimately led to him to losing his job, his apartment, contact with family and friends, forcing him in to life on the streets, sleeping rough.

But he sought help, completed a drug treatment course and linked in with Cork Simon. He is now living in a city hostel, has been drug-free since last June, and has secured a work placement in Clancy’s Bar thanks to Cork Simon’s Step to Work programme.

He will spend three weeks in Clancy’s, with one-to-one support from the programme’s co-ordinator, Fiona Hagensen, which will help him to update his CV.

“The kitchen is my life. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do and it’s what I’m good at,” he said.

He has been signed up to complete several industry courses as part of the upskilling process. He is also building bridges with his family.

Trevor hopes that the placement, and his updated CV, will help him secure a permanent job in the long-term, which will in turn help him move in to his own apartment.

“I see this is another stepping stone on my journey. This is my second chance and I’m going to grab it with both hands,” he said.

Cork Simon funds the project directly. It has supported over 320 people to access education and training, and over the last three years has supported 60 people to return to work in 38 companies.


Frits Potgieter is General Manager with Muckross Park Hotel and Spa.You've Been Served: Frits Potgieter, Muckross Park Hotel and Spa

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