In this instalment of real life stories from real world people, we hear from somebody who knows a thing or two about community spirit. Somebody who actually drums up community spirit in complete and utter abundance, despite having felt like he’s on the outside looking in for most of his life. To me, that’s the measure of a great human being - somebody who takes their own hardship and instead of letting it make them bitter, turns it into something sweet for someone else.
So, without any further ado, let me virtually introduce you to Adam McCreevy - an altruistic philanthropist born in Waterford, Ireland and bred right here on the Wirral, a stone’s through from ONEOFTHE8 HQ. We chat to Adam about Health, Happiness, Hope and Humanity, and how important it is to find all of these things close to Home. Five words beginning with H that Adam hasn’t always been on the receiving end of but that he dishes out without limit within his local community.
“I think the most valuable thing you can give somebody is your time”
So, as I mentioned above, Adam was born in Ireland (the accent is a dead giveaway) but moved to the Wirral (hence the northern twang) when he was 11. At such a tender and impressionable age, the move knocked his confidence and led to social anxieties and low self-esteem. Life moved on and he began to integrate into the community gradually, catalysed by joining a football team and putting roots down in new friendships.
Despite this, Adam still described his feelings to us like this: “I’m not really a member of this community, I’m just somebody here who’s visiting if that makes sense?”. Yes, it does make sense to a certain degree but knowing what I know now about this selfless nice-guy, I would confidently say his community would beg to differ. In fact, I’d hasten to say he’s a huge part of its spirit.
Having felt the way he did growing up, Adam always felt compelled to get involved in the local community to help vulnerable families and those who feel disconnected. Life took its twists and turns and eventually, Adam secured a job at a nearby gym as a sports instructor. Fast forward to now and that very gym has become the epicentre of his philanthropic acts-of-kindness.
“It’s what I call my immediate economy”
Just before the pandemic hit last year, Adam used the gym as a base from which to set up the Wirral Health Project CIC. Through this, he initiated regular ‘Walk & Talk’s, which are non agenda-based meet-ups inviting people in the local community to walk together, share conversation and just enjoy the company of others. Very quickly the Walk & Talk group grew to more than 80 people, “just connecting and walking together” - something Adam hopes to start back up again in the near future.
During the pandemic, Adam also transformed the community-centric gym into a food bank, with the ambition of providing 20-25 health-based hampers to families in need within a two-week period. With the help of supporters, local businesses and people from within the community, Adam managed to produce 1,000 hampers and helped feed 2,000 children.
Never wanting generosity to be a one-way street, Adam talks a great deal about wanting to invest back into his “immediate economy”. By this, he means the local businesses around him and the small independents within reaching distance that are in need of support. He believes that in a consumer-based world, we should all be doing a lot more to help support our own immediate economies and I’m sure you can join me in nodding in agreement. So, maybe next time you’re looking for a joiner, in need of a car wash or stocking up your fridge, look a little closer to home. I know I certainly will be.
“You can definitely be true to who you are but still provide entertainment and give people a little bit of hope”
As with all of our guests, we concluded by asking Adam to share his main source of inspiration with us. He paid homage to his late Uncle Billy who sadly took his own life at the age of 37 back in 2017. Billy was an idol-like figure to Adam, someone he really looked up to. The loss of Billy from his life was one of the “worst things to ever happen” to him but still, Adam let this heartbreak be the driving force he needed to go about having a “life changing impact” on other people’s lives.
Adam also tipped his metaphorical hat to Irish comedian called Tommy Tiernan who to him, “speaks so much sense”. Tommy has taught Adam that - in his own words: “you can definitely be true to who you are but still provide entertainment and give people a little bit of hope”. After laughing at various points through Adam’s inspiring anecdotes, I very much believe this to be true.
Adam’s biggest inspiration though is his son, Jet - his “biggest influence” who is “absolute magic”. Everything Adam does has his son at the heart, tightly intwined with a desire to “leave behind a body of work that he’ll be proud of”. He wraps up by explaining how, for him, it’s important to be the people for our kids that we’d wished we had when we were their age. I think it’s safe to say Adam is living out that dream every single day.
To find out more about Wirral Health Project CIC and the fabulous work Adam and his comrades are doing to support their local community, check out the Facebook page.
To hear the full story from Adam, about life growing up as “an outsider looking in” and how this inspired his own ambition to connect people, catch his episode on the ONEOFTHE8 podcast now.