Meet the team: Niall Hodgen

Niall is one of our senior youth workers, currently leading the Milltown and Breda Dreamscheme groups.

Q. How long have you been part of Dreamscheme, and why did you want to get involved in youth work?

I originally worked for Dreamscheme during the glory days of 2013, having stints in all three areas (Milltown, Braniel and Fourwinds). Those were the days.

I spent the majority of my time as Senior Youth Worker for our Braniel group. However, my hair quickly turned grey and I knew it was time to call it a day… just kidding – I took up a new adventure at a summer camp in America.

Nevertheless, on my return I was in-between studies and jobs for two years. Now I’m back. And I’m more excited than ever to be involved with Dreamscheme. There is tremendous potential in both our young people and staff, and the organisation has gone from strength to strength. As the saying goes, ‘Choose a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.’

Q. What are you looking forward to most this year at Dreamscheme?

That’s a tough one – there’s so much! If I had to pin it down to two things: first, I think our regular programme is looking really exciting up to the New Year and I think our young people will respond to it really well. Secondly, we are pioneering a new Dreamscheme leadership programme for our older Dreamschemers. It is bursting with potential and I’m really keen to see it take off.

Q. What does your ideal holiday consist of?

Hmmmm… so much choice. This is totally unrealistic but first, the first half of the holiday would be a proper adventure (think hiking through the Amazon jungle), taking in lots of different and untouched places. Throw in a bit of golf and some quad biking along the way and I’m happy. The second half would consist of pure relaxation (think lying on a secluded beach in the Caribbean), drinking from coconuts and eating Chic Fil A every night.

Q. What is your favourite book?

It used to be Albert Camus’ ‘The Outsider’ but it’s been a long time since I read it. We had to read it in school and I remember finding it fascinating. It’s different to what most are used to but I’d recommend giving it a read. Let’s be honest though, you can’t beat a bit of Horrible Histories!

Q. How do you unwind after a stressful day at work?

It depends on the time of year. When the light nights are in, I can think of nothing better than getting out into the fresh air at the golf club and sneaking in a practice session. It’s hard to beat. Whenever winter rolls in, you’ll catch me at the boxing club working the bags.

Q, What is your best Dreamscheme memory?

Well, for one, meeting the love of my life, Claire Douglas (major brownie points), when she volunteered on the Dreamscheme Londonderry residential in 2013. Aside from that, the slip n’ slide at the Belvoir/Milltown summer scheme will always standout in my mind. Not just because of the sheer chaos on the slide, but also the memories of lugging gallons of water in a wheelie bin up Belvoir Drive with Juke. That was sweaty.