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Cork Independent

Cork Profile

Alan Hayes, UCC Students Union President

Thursday, 5th April, 2018 9:53am

Factfile:

Name and position: Alan Hayes, UCC Students Union President for the academic year of 2018/2019

Age: 21

Lives: Kilkenny

Family: Man Angela, brothers Stephen, Thomas and Robert and sister Caoimhe

Pets: Two dogs (King Charles) Ruby and Daisy

Favourite thing about Cork: The people are so friendly

Least favourite thing about Cork: The traffic

One thing you'd change about Cork: More bike lanes

When you were small, what did you want to be as a grown-up?

I always wanted to be a fireman or a lifeguard in Australia, but as I grew up, I realized all I really wanted to do was help people who were struggling with life issues or disabilities.

Tell us about your career progression to your role today:

I grew up in Kilkenny, attending St Kieran’s College secondary school. St Kieran’s College shaped me in to the person I am and it opened up many doors of opportunity for me. In second year, my brother Thomas died by suicide. This was the second time my family had been affected after my father Tommy also died by suicide. The support I received from friends, family and my school got me through this horrific time. Two years passed and my family realized the lack of support there is for people contemplating suicide and for those families affected by suicide. My mother and I appeared on ‘The Late Late Show’ to speak about how our family had been affected and how there are not enough supports. I also sang my own song on the night called ‘Survivor’. With the funds, we set up the Thomas Hayes Trust which provides free counselling services to families and people contemplating suicide.

We also provide child play therapy. Today, I am a final year social science student in UCC and I was recently elected as Students Union President for the upcoming academic year 2018/2019.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of what you do?

There is no doubt that it’s being involved in a charity like the Thomas Hayes Trust, which provides well needed services, is rewarding in so many ways. My family have seen first-hand what can happen if people do not receive sufficient supports. So having the ability to provide supports to families and individuals in difficult situations makes it all worthwhile.

What motivates you?

The lack of support services for people around mental health motivates me to strive towards helping as many people as possible. My family motivate me as they’ve shown me how to creative positivity out of negative situations.

What advice would you give your 15 year old self?

Don’t be overly worried about your future or where you’ll be in 10/20 years’ time. Just focus on the present and remember what’s meant to be will be and if something is for you it won’t pass you.

If you weren’t in the role you have, what would you be doing?

If I wasn’t elected as Students Union President, I would have liked to do a masters in psychology or social work.

What is your greatest life or career achievement to-date?

To date, I have been awarded Quercus Active Citizenship Scholarship in UCC, named a Global Teen Leader by the We Are Family Foundation in New York, the President Award at St Kieran’s College and most recently, beoming the UCC Students Union President but my biggest achievement was recording my single ‘Survivor’ in Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin. The song then went on to the top three in the Irish iTunes Charts.

Who has had the biggest influence on you in your life?

My mother Angela motivates me to strive to do my best in whatever I put my mind to. She has always taught me to “suss out the situation” and never give up once you commit to something.

What is the life dream now?

I’d love if there were sufficient mental health supports in every area of the country, leaving no individual or family feeling alone.

How do you switch off?

By writing music and also by playing squash or soccer with my friends. It’s important to be able to switch off.

What is your favourite Cork memory?

I suppose starting in UCC was the highlight of my life in Cork - the first day walking in to the campus and the feeling of opportunity and excitement.

What is your favourite place in Cork?

Supporting Cork City FC at Turner’s Cross.

Do you have a favourite quote or motto?

‘What’s meant to be will be’.

When are you at your happiest?

When I’m playing a gig or writing songs.

Any regrets?

I regret not learning to play musical instruments when I was younger. I didn’t start the guitar until I was 16, but I wish I started it when I was a lot younger.

What is your hidden talent?

I love to beat box but no one really knows that I do it.

What might we be surprised to know about you?

I’m from Kilkenny, but I don’t play hurling!

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