How a chance TV appearance helped Hartlepool man get off the streets and into a job he loves

A former homeless man has had his life turned around after an old school friend saw hime on a popular TV programme and offered him a job in a Hartlepool gym.

Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 06:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 11:50 am
Adam Sowerby (left) with Chris Richardson inside Xercise4less. Picture by Frank Reid.

Less than a year ago Adam Sowerby, 31, was sleeping rough on the streets.

Last summer Adam was interviewed in a film about unemployment rates in Hartlepool which went out on The One Show on the BBC.

Adam Sowerby (left) with Chris Richardson inside Xercise4less. Picture by Frank Reid.

It was shared on social media where it was seen by Chris Richardson, the general manager at Xercise4Less within Middleton Grange shopping centre, who was at Henry Smith’s school with Adam.

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Chris got in touch with Adam and invited him in before offering a job.

Nine months on, Adam says he has turned his life around and hopes to be an inspiration to others.

He said: “At the time I was sleeping rough. I had been homeless on and off for about five years.

Hartlepool man Adam Sowerby played football for England's homeless team

“I literally had nothing. I slept next to the civic centre, under the Wesley, various places down the marina and sofa surfing.”

Before hearing from Chris, Adam had applied for 75 jobs without success.

But he says he always remained positive that things would get better.

And they did when old school pal Chris contacted him.

Adam Sowerby at his desk in Xercise4Less. Picture by FRANK REID

“I’d had loads of applications for jobs,” said Chris. “When I saw Adam was not having the best of times I thought it was down to myself to give him an opportunity.

“I invited him in and offered him a job.”

Chris admits head office had some reservations given Adam’s homelessness which he says was due to family bereavement and being evicted.

But Chris added: “He took to it like a duck to water. He is a good worker and is here for the long haul.

Adam Sowerby (sitting) with rear left to right) Chris Richardson and Scott Reeves front (left to right) Hannah Foley, Christine Whiley and John Wright at Xercise4less. Picture by FRANK REID

“Now he has got a home and can provide for himself.”

Adam is a membership consultant at the gym and is working towards promotion.

He loves it so much that he often goes in on his days off.

Adam added: “I wanted to change my life. My mentality was not to give up.

“There’s people who are homeless, on drugs and struggle to get out of that vicious circle.

“I just want to inspire other people who are down on their luck and show it’s not impossible.”

In 2015, Adam captained the England football Homeless Team in Portugal and brought home a bronze medal.