Wednesday, June 17, 2020

WAYNE Jacob (34) is a social care worker who works alongside young people in care at Kellsgrange Residential Care. He first got into Social Care in 2010 when he began volunteering with the ISPCC’s youth mentoring programme before spending six years volunteering with the Waterford Rape Crisis Centre. He’s currently volunteering with Foroige’s Big Brother, Big Sister Programme. He got married to Sarah White last year and in his own words he “still can’t believe it.”

Life in a Day 

My days spent working can bring so much excitement. Working along the Copper Coast means plenty of swimming, beach time, visits to the Comeragh Mountains and BBQ’s. On my days off I love nothing more than walking the dog, going for a cycle with Team Skelly and spending time with family. The past three months have really driven home how important it is to take a pause every now and then and appreciate what is really important in life. It is all about the daily interactions, making them count, and most importantly, making the time for them to happen. 

What school did you go to? 

My primary school years were spent at St. Saviour’s National School in Ballybeg, and then it was on to St. Paul’s Community College for Secondary School. 

What teacher do you remember most vividly?

Mrs. Tobin from St. Saviour’s. Unusually, we had Mrs. Tobin as a teacher for five years straight. As a class we were all distraught leaving her to move on to Secondary School. I hold so many wonderful memories of class outings, the national choir (I lip synced) and chipping in to buy her flowers and cake on our final day. Hello Mrs. Tobin if you are reading this. 

What advice would you give your 15-year-old self? 

Take it handy on the bread and crisps. I kid, looking back I would encourage myself to enjoy everything that was around me at that given time, because change comes about quick and fast. I was in my 30s before I realised the power of that piece of advice given to me. 

How do you relax? 

My most favourite way of relaxing is done by sticking the headphones on and hitting shuffle on the Spotify playlists. I listen to music morning, noon and night. I also love wandering around Waterford City at random times during the week when I am off work. Coffee stops at The Book Centre while scribbling into a notepad is a favourite. 

What is your favourite film and piece of music?

I love a lot of the usual classics when it comes to film, The Godfathers 1 & 2, Shawshank Redemption and all the rest, however for me it has to be The Goonies. “Heeeey you guys”. Deciding on my favourite piece of music had me reflecting for six days, and I still couldn’t come to a conclusion, so here are my favourite local musical talents: Susan O’Neill, King Kong Company and The Dead Heavys. 

When was the last time you cried?

I had my stag party last July, and after three days away I walked into the sitting room, sat on the couch next to Sarah, lay my head on her lap and randomly burst into tears. I think I was just happy to be alive to be honest. Funnily enough, I enjoy a cry. The rawness of that experience of emotion should never be feared or seen as anything other than being part of a necessary process. But I am never having another stag party. 

What has been your happiest moment of recent times? 

The easiest question so far. Our wedding day last September. Having all of our friends and family together in the one place and on the same love buzz was what I want to be a once in a lifetime experience. We also met John O’Shea the day after, but I’d need three more pages to tell that story. 

Do you pray? 

I do not pray so much nowadays, however I did pray as a child. I really enjoyed praying, it brought a sense of comfort and the opportunity to ignite the imagination. As I grew older, I became a bit of an Irish pray-er. I would hit up Holy God if I was in a bit of bother or if I needed a few bob. I’ve given that up now and try to sort things out myself. I do like to talk to a couple of people who I’ve lost along the way. 

What is your biggest fear? 

I have a few fears. I once refused to have a shower until my Mother removed a Daddy Long Legs from the bathroom. But I suppose drowning would be well up there. It almost happened in 2007, and if it wasn’t for a friend who managed to pull me from the water, I was over and out. I am working on it though and have set myself a few challenges this summer to help me comfortably enjoy swimming in the sea again. It is long overdue. 

What is your most treasured possession?

Our dogs. Toby is a rescue dog and actually has more fears than I do. We’re a great match. We also have Harley the crazy Cockapoo. He stayed with Sarah’s parents after we moved to a new house. He comes to stay at our house sometimes for sleepovers and loves to wee indoors. 

What is your favourite thing about living in Waterford?

I love the coastline. Whether it be cycling a bike or driving from beach to cove to explore and walk. I’m lucky enough to be working close to the coastline, so visits have been able to continue over the past few months. 

If you could change one thing about Waterford, what would it be?

Waterford has unrivalled potential on so many fronts and faces inequality on other fronts. Like one and all, I would love to see those inequalities evened out, and potential achieved. Also, bring back The Forum as a music venue.

In conversation with Darren Skelton

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