7 Audio clip 4: Paul
Paul was 30 years old when he was interviewed. He had been in and out of homelessness for most of his adult life, but had become a volunteer with the Cyrenians. He was living in a shared house with some other volunteers.
Paul spent much of his childhood in a caravan in Happy Valley, near the sea, with his parents, brothers and sisters. At 21, when he was living with his girlfriend and her parents, his daughter was born. When she was two months old, they were kicked out, and Paul went to live at a crisis centre for three months. After this, they were allocated a house on a very run-down council estate.
The relationship did not work out, and they ran into debt before splitting up. Paul moved into ‘Stormy Down’, a nearby homelessness hostel, and then took to the road, travelling to a variety of towns and cities in Britain. He returned to South Wales every two weeks to collect his benefit. Eventually, he settled in Swansea, where he met his current wife. They had a son, but again the relationship broke down. His wife was a heroin user and accommodation was a problem.
As you listen to the clip, you will hear about the impact these experiences had on Paul, and also about the value he placed on his experience as a volunteer.