Motorbike rides across the Cotswolds, Strictly Come Dancing competitions, service user trips out and about; group discussion and Bible moments – former Reverend Will Adams is a man that enables community and wellbeing through volunteering.
Revd Will Adams is one of these ‘community heroes’, who has supported Livability’s Lifestyle Choices in Brackley (an independent living service for disabled people) for over 12 years. The project offers a model of care that aims to increase the independence of service users, reducing social isolation. Will discovered the service following his move to the area.
‘I have been a champion of social justice for many years,’ explains Will, ‘so was delighted to discover an organization dedicated to working with vulnerable and disadvantaged adults was right on my doorstep.’ On visiting Livability Lifestyle Choices for the first time, he was immediately impressed with the work being done there. ‘The commitment and passion of the staff and high quality of the leadership were obvious from the start. The warm reception I received from the service users was a big draw, too.’
Will became an active fundraiser for Livability Lifestyle Choices and has raised hundreds of pounds for the charity over the years. He started fundraising for Livability as a way of developing stronger relationships in his community and to engage with the work of a local charity in a more personal and hands-on ways. As Rector, he was in a position to enlist the support of parishioners through shared pastimes or interests.
‘I came up with the idea of holding an annual “Strictly Come Dancing” competition to raise funds, extend the work of the church and reach a wider population of parishioners. The local dance school was happy to provide professional expertise and training. All I had to do was find volunteer dance partners who would find their own sponsorship.’ Livability was a popular choice for dance candidates. ‘We had one young dancer who was so good he swept up the takings for both nights. We ended up with a bumper donation.’
The dance competition proved so popular, Will wanted to find other ways to engage locals and raise money and awareness for Livability. As a keen motorcyclist, he decided to get together with other local bike enthusiasts. Their outings proved a great success.
“During our sponsored rallies, the motorcycle group always had breakfast and afternoon tea at Lifestyle Choices in Brackley. This was supplied by staff and supported by service users, who turned out in great numbers, greeting the bikers with a great deal of enthusiasm. Some of the bikers were a little apprehensive of service users at first, but over time the relationships between them blossomed.” The bikers became real ambassadors for the charity, not only by shaking their collection cans but also by raising awareness within their own communities.
The twice-yearly rally has led to another fundraising opportunity, an annual bonfire night celebration, which is held in one of the biker’s fields and to which service users and staff are invited. ‘These events haven’t just made a difference to Livability by raising funds. They’ve made a real difference to the bikers, too.’ Due to Will’s initiative and commitment to his community real, lasting friendships have been forged that have knitted the community together.
Now retired, Will continues to support Livability. He also leads a prayer group with service users every month.
Revd Will Adams was one of the seven winners of The Livability Princess Royal Awards 2016. He won the award for Outstanding Volunteer and Supporter.