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Homeless tour guides show tourists what Drogheda has to offer

The walking tours programme has trained people are are homeless or previously lived on the streets to help give them more independence.

WHEN 37-YEAR-old Luke Kelly was released from a psychiatric hospital back on 2002, he had nowhere to go.

For eight months he was on the streets, until he sought the help of Drogheda Homeless Aid and began living in the charity’s hostel before moving to a settlement home for three years. In 2008 he moved into independent living accommodation.

“It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful,” he told TheJournal.ie. “To have my own independence, my own place.”

Now the charity has helped Kelly and other people who either are homeless or were previously on the streets to take that move into independence one step further.

He is part of a new programme called My Streets Drogheda which involves people who have used the services of Drogheda Homeless Aid being trained up to give guided tours of the town.

Alan Costello of Drogheda Civic Trust developed the project after being inspired by a similar initiative in Canterbury, also called ‘My Streets’.

He teamed up with the homeless charity and since September last year the new tour guides have been receiving training on presentation skills and history and studying hard.

“These tours feature a little difference to other walking tours, as we’re keen for them to put it into their own words,” Costello explained. “It’s ‘My Streets’ and they lived on those actual streets in a lot of cases so as well as the history stories they might also tell one of their own stories or point out that that’s a really good doorway to sleep in.

The tours cost €5 per person with a maximum of eight people in a group and aside from a small proportion of the money which will be used to promote the tours, all of it goes to the guides.

They kicked off last weekend, when Luke Kelly finally got to show off everything he’s learned in the last number of months.

His favourite landmark in Drogheda is St Laurence’s Gate and we’ll leave it to him to explain why:

Source: Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Video provided by Austin Campbell. 

Read: Homeless pregnant woman with young son ‘left without emergency accommodation’>

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