Kildare's Barry Lumsden studys at Limerick Institute of Technology Clonmel.
Newbridge Game Art and Design student Barry Lumsden is struggling to survive off his SUSI Maintenance Grant and will have to quit his dream course if he doesn’t get a break soon.
The 26-year-old now sleeps in the back of his Nissan Almera in car parks around Clonmel as he searches high and low for a part-time job to make ends meat.
Barry has “fallen through the cracks of the system” and feels he is being “punished” for wanting to better himself.
“I love Clonmel and want to move here so I can get more involved in college life, but it is financially impossible for me at the moment and it is looking like I may have to drop out if things don’t get better,” Barry tells The Nationalist.
“I get €160 a month and have to use some of that to help out at home. I drove up and down the first week but it was costing me a crazy amount, so I started camping at The Apple Farm in Cahir for €7 a night. It has since closed for the winter so I now sleep in my car for a few nights, drive home and get myself sorted, and then back to sleeping in my car in Clonmel,” an emotional Barry narrates.
Barry Lumsden spent the start of first year sleeping in a tent.
Barry’s dream of becoming a 3D environment artist is looking bleak at present, but he is trying to remain defiant. “I am living off savings and they are depleting fast, but I will fight on. I have always wanted to study Game Art and Design and have worked so hard to get where I am today. I don’t just want to throw it all away overnight.
"I have been advised to drop out, stay unemployed for year and reapply for Back to Education Allowance but I won’t give up on my dreams that easily.
“I have applied for jobs in Clonmel and I am hoping my luck will turn in the right direction. And in the end if my knuckles are bloody from knocking, my arms tired from swinging and still that door doesn’t open, at least I know I have tried my best,” he continues.
Barry worked as a barman, waiter, kitchen porter, in retail and technology after finishing Patrician Secondary School in Newbridge, and feels he has a lot to offer the workplace. “I am great with my hands. I used to paint houses over the summer, and have rebuilt parts of my motorcycle and got lawnmowers working again. I like to figure out how things work,” Barry highlights.
Barry Lumsden is part-time job hunting in Clonmel.
A sufferer of seasonal affective disorder, Barry also enjoys helping others in need. “I have learnt to never give up on yourself. I know what it is like to suffer with depression as it has haunted me from a young age. But this makes you stronger than the average person, going through the hardships of life while fighting the demons in your head. I can now look back and although I still struggle my past lets me help others. I look at things now and know it could be worse, and it will be better,” Barry adds.