Paul Walmsley

Join us for a riveting interview with Paul Walmsley, hosted by Sean O’Neill, where we delve into Paul’s extraordinary journey from a life of crime to becoming a celebrated author and a mentor dedicated to transforming lives in Liverpool.

In this profoundly personal and enlightening conversation, Paul opens up about his past, the turning points that propelled him towards change, and his passionate involvement in community projects to rebuild and empower some of Liverpool’s most troubled areas.

Transcript - From Prison to Purpose Paul Walmsley's Story

Paul Walmsley: Is it the best way to double your money is fold it in half and put it back in your pocket. There’s no guarantees in life. The goal post are always going to move and life just ain’t fair.

Sean O’Neill: There’re a few dark days, a few difficult moments but as for disaster, I think that word maybe I wouldn’t use it now.

Paul Walmsley: She went, who’s that? Are you a **** midget?

Sean O’Neill: Paul Walmsley. Welcome.

Paul Walmsley: Thank you.

Sean O’Neill: So, who is Paul?

Paul Walmsley: Who is Paul? Paul is the father of four kids. Grandfather to three kids. He’s also heavily involved in community focused projects to try and rebuild communities and to try and change things that aren’t working within society. And I know it’s a tough ask but someone’s got to do it.

Sean O’Neill: And that’s extremely varied at the moment. Could you be a bit more specific on some of the points?

Paul Walmsley: I think so in 2012 I wrote a 15-year plan out. And that was written from a cell and part of that plan was to look at the education system and to look at how young people are brought up from primary school into secondary school. And then it’s like you’ve released into a community or you just turn into an adult, and I think looking at all them challenges that I faced and all the trauma that I went through, but didn’t realize it was trauma as a young person. Made me realize, hang on, there’s a different way of trying to educate people and the school system in my eyes is archaic, but yet we’re still using it. We’re still in desks like we’re feeding the hell factory years ago and it the workforce is not that place anymore. How people learn is not fit the purpose anymore in my eyes. The majority of people can sit in the desk and learn, but there’s that many complexities about people and that many issues as far as I’m concerned. I think we’re all on the spectrum somewhere of, are you?

Sean O’Neill: I guess is there anyone out there that’s got their **** together? I still haven’t met them.

Paul Walmsley: No, and I think that’s and I, do you know what? Someone said this to me and I’ve stole it from, I’m not going to take credit for this but I do like making a big pan of get your **** together soup and serve it up daily to people and serve it, have a look at that, have a look be reflective. Do you think this is the way you want to go and you can’t tell people what to do but you can give them indicators. And you can let them know that if you do that, you will veer off left or you will veer off right or you will go straight ahead. And maybe if there’s a wall straight ahead, you’re going to hit it. I know I’m metaphorically speaking, but that’s the line of work that I’m in now in terms of working with young people trying to guide them, trying to get them to make healthy decisions because that’s what they are in essence.

Sean O’Neill: So, you have a great ability to listen. How did learn that and is that part of the skill set that you try and pass on to these people?

Paul Walmsley: I learnt how to listen to not what, to what they’re not saying. So, little signs, and I think that’s going to take me to the sort of back to 2012 and reading a couple of self-help books and reading an Auntie Robbins book, “Unlimited Power”, learning loads of body language techniques, learning loads of eye access and queues. Then getting into therapy and just picking up on how especially young people and people who are dealing loads of trauma and don’t realize they’re dealing with loads of trauma present and there’s little keywords that they say. And I remember watching loads of football interviews, like watching match of the day again from a cell but paying really loads of attention to, like loads of forwards who said they sniffed it out in the box. And so, they’re using that old factory sense to then engage and make everything work as one and I believe in that. I do believe in, if we get all our senses working at one then we’ll get the best version of ourselves.

Sean O’Neill: Seeing that you had your senses starting to work together when you were removed from a lot of the noise as well if you’re in a cell. Do you not find that in today’s world, we of so much hitting our senses on a daily basis that maybe it’s we have to separate ourselves from give ourselves time to learn these skills?

Paul Walmsley: Yeah, we’re bombarded but we can always just go and sit in a corner and switch our phone off and just look out the window or go for a walk on the beach or go for a walk in the woods or go. I mean I’ve got two 5:20 divorce dogs which I can go and get every now and again if I want to go and take them on the beach. And I’m going great with that or I can go to a friend who’s got a dog and go on let’s go. You can always remove yourself from that noise some noise is good. I mean I’ve got a sleep app on my phone calm and I listen to Brownie and Noise to go asleep and I’m asleep within two minutes every time I put it on. So sometimes we need that noise. That outside, nature and be connected with that and somehow all be it through an app and maybe that’s what technology’s there for us to use in that way.

Sean O’Neill: I spoke to Doctor Hassan recently and that was very interesting, he also challenged me on maybe why I don’t consume so much news or social media or try and stay off eh digital devices. And for me, that’s the answer it’s for that reason so much going on I’ve had to pick and choose what I can digest. So, my emotions don’t get overrun. I don’t have too much information to pass or to digest in one day and give myself that time to sit in the corner, go to a beach and start maybe the ability to take not just take on information but learn and then put it into my everyday life.

Paul Walmsley: So, my take on that is these devices are tools. If you and a hammer is a tool. If you put a hammer in a joiner’s hand it will build you a shelter. It will build you a roof which will keep you safe. But if you put a hammer in a lunatic’s hand, leg it quick. So, it’s how we use these tools. How we move forward with all of these tools. How we know how it suits us. And what we’ve all got is we’ve all got little nuances, little personality traits. And we only know what we’re really like. No one else knows exactly what we’re really like. We know what we’re really, like when we’re on our own when you’ve been left alone and you really hit on something before about, I have to be removed from that. And the way I’d look at that it’s like a plant if you have to then uplift a plant but you take roots and all you put it in a bigger pot and you water that and you nurture that and you grow that might grow into a huge sunflower and produce more huge sunflowers. And it’s the same sort of analogy of that especially with communications these tools where everyone’s talking about AI now. And I work at the University of Liverpool and I remember speaking to a senior professor of law and children’s rights. I said, AI, they’re like, oh, no we can’t have this and it’s like no, no, no we can. We actually can. We need to work with it. We need to understand how we can use this tool for the greater good and for the better.

And that’s one of the reasons why I think me trying to change the education system and use the tools around us and going into schools and working with young people, and having what I call the no plan. I’m guessing that you as a businessman, you’ve nothing but plans and structures and this is the way it’s got to go. But sometimes to get into anyone’s heads with chaos, you’ve just got to create chaos yourself and go in there with them and find as I call it, it’s like going in the loft at Christmas time and finding the them Christmas lights that are up there and someone’s put them away the year before and they’re just a mess. They’re all tangled, they’re everywhere, some of them are broken. Sometimes that’s what people’s heads are like.

Sean O’Neill: That describes my early days. I’ve been…

Paul Walmsley: What this morning?

Sean O’Neill: Everything you’ve just said I’ve been in what plant pots than you can imagine, and it probably year on year a little bit of the piece of the puzzle has come together for me. But it’s been an incredible journey, but plus a very individual journey for me. although, I don’t like to demonize anything that’s done in mass. I think that is probably the nail on the head for people that I meet that you can take these skills and you can take these teachings and you can introduce AI or not. You can do anything you want, but it has to be ultimately your individual decision from people like yourself or people like myself to take on the skills and then make it their own.

Paul Walmsley: So, for me, we can all set goals and we all want to get whatever we want to get to. But it’s that journey to get there and you never know where you’re going to stop. And like I, me being here now and me doing what I’ve done and me going to work in universities and running Jamie Carragher Sports and Learning Academy then going to be a coaching in schools and then working in alternative provisions. That wasn’t all planned out. None of that was part of the plan. That was part of the journey that I had to go on to get to this point to realize so to gain all that knowledge, to gain all that experience, to be dealing with different types of people.

I’ve dealt with some of the most risky individuals who are 13, 14, 15 from this area that you you’re ever going to meet and it’s frustrating, it’s challenging, it’s upsetting to the point where you do that empathy turns to sympathy and then you’re involved. It’s that being involved or being committed and there’s a I speak often to a high court judge and he said, one of the best things ever to him. He said, Paul, I really love the way you’re always committed. He went, it’s the ham and egg breakfast scenario. And I said, what do you mean a ham and egg breakfast scenario? He said, well, in a ham and egg breakfast, he said, the chicken’s involved but the pig’s definitely committed. And I really like that and it’s like so it but what that is from a sort of an elder statement type of thing who I think he is like wisdom and it’s turning that knowledge into wisdom and trying to give that back to the young people.

And I think we’ve lost that. We’ve lost a bit of that rite of passage. There’s no connection. Now communities are all disjointed and dysfunctional like families are dysfunctional and we’ve got a blame thrower culture which is it’s ridiculous. And then if you want to throw into the mix how we use these devices, I think we’ll be kicking ourselves down the road that we never regulated these devices the usage of them and where we’re going with them. But still, they are an amazing tool to have, because I don’t know about your phone because my phone’s my office. If I’ve got my phone, I’ve got my office. I can be anywhere and get work done.

Sean O’Neill: Yeah, over the years I’ve managed to surround myself with fantastic people that support me. So, my office hours are a bit less than they used to be.

Paul Walmsley: Can I borrow some of them people? So, I can have some of that time back please.

Sean O’Neill: I’ll sell you their time. It’s quite expensive.

Paul Walmsley: Well, okay.

Sean O’Neill: You did, there’s two points there that we’ll come on to the elder statesman in a minute, but you talked about working with the kids in pool that need help or need your help the most. Can you tell me more about that?

Paul Walmsley: This started, wow, this started when again when I was released from prison and I was working in the Brunswick where Jamie Carragher Academy was I got a phone call and it was a withheld number and I remember who’s this and it was the chief superintendent and there’s his athlete and I was like, oh okay. And I’m not going to lie to you, I **** myself. I thought, these are going to call me back in, I’ve done something that found something and he went, no, listen we need you need to come down and have a word. And they said what we’re going to do is part of the pocket that we took off yet. Gonna give you a chunk of that back to go and do a project and I was like, wow. Are you sure? And they were like, yeah.

So, I went to the community centre where we were there and said, listen, we need to they’ve said that they’re going to ring fence this little bit of money. How can you keep it safe and make sure that we do the right thing, because I want to do this project ABC. So, with that then I went to work in Butle and in North Liverpool and North Liverpool is predominantly the most deprived part of the city. I know we have a north south divide within the country but we also have a north south divide within the city. So, you’ve got the likes of Everton and Butle and if you go into Sefton and even you go to Southport now because it’s gone that far. Some of these are the most challenging times for local authorities for police because of the way we’ve gone.

So, I’ve worked with young people who are up for attempted murder. I’ve worked with people who’ve just prolific drug dealers at 12, who were running a local park. He was taxiing himself in state not going to school and running a gang of about 6 or 7 lads and they were turning over two or three grand a day. Now that to me, they have business skills at an early age and for me to go in and spot that and go okay, but also spot and explain to them like, listen, what’s going to go on when the **** hits the fan and someone gets arrested. You are all going to scatter and fear will take control. And how we dealt with that was we reached their parents by getting them to sign acceptance letters for us to take them out on days outs and they go, oh yeah, because mums and dads they can go wherever they want. So, they’d sign that letter. We get their address. We get their phone number then we ring them up and we say, look, we’re working with your son. We want to help you but we want to work with you.

So, working with the young people we have to work with the parents and we have to work with the community so we have that triangular approach. From that then, we can find more information whether they it’s a single mom or whether dad’s bringing them up whether dad is in the family whether there’s issues going on. Because there’s loads of indicators. I don’t know whether you’re aware of the adverse childhood experiences which are called the Aces, which is now it’s turning into trauma informed approaches to how we deal with people. And I mentioned before about indicators. So, there’s a stat that if you’re 40 and you’re male and one of your relatives have been to jail, then you’re 40% likely to go to prison.

So, all these indicators are there, if you’re brought up around crime then you’re going to absorb that and go down that road. And I think for me coming from Norris Green in Northlake pool and that’s what happened to me. I just got sucked into it.

Sean O’Neill: How did you get these kids to trust you and open up?

Paul Walmsley: By being authentic that the kids in the park, the 12-year-olds we were sitting there and we’d went as the Jamie Carragher Academy and just to play footy. And then as we played, they only played about 10 minutes. They were all knackered, they were all, they couldn’t really breathe and next minute they all start building up, they all start rolling joints and I’m like, what are you smoking. And they were saying, oh, we’re smoking this, we’re smoking that. And I went, okay, well do you know about that, do you know that’s cross pollinated, did you know where that starts? And then they go, well, how do you know that?

Sean O’Neill: Knowledge.

Paul Walmsley: Yeah, no turning knowledge into wisdom and then they go, and then they’re talking to you and I go, yeah, and I get my phone using it as a tool and go, yeah, there’s my background. And because there’s loads out there on the internet, but me they’re like, oh wow. But out of nowhere walks an older lad walking the dog through the park and he was the lad who was supplying them with the drugs and I was in jail with him and I go, what are you doing? Whoa. No stop this. Don’t these are young kids. Don’t let me look after them. Let me take them away. And we did. We rescued a few of the kids.

Sean O’Neill: Did that conversation go down well?

Paul Walmsley: Yeah, he was fine. He was fine with that. Because it’s I was a little bit older than him and it’s you’ll there’s a bit of give and take within that lifestyle. But I was out of that now. I was a teacher in an academy and I had a little bit of respect, because I’d written the book while I was in custody. We’ll get to that in a minute. Which give me yeah, a little bit of respect among certain people within in that lifestyle. So, therefore the kids think you’re authentic and they’ll trust you and also, they want to know, then they ask them stupid questions. How much money did you get? What car did you drive? Have you ever shot anyone? All that nonsense. No, I haven’t. It wasn’t like that and it doesn’t need to be like that for you as well, and just stay around them. And it just becomes a shepherding process then with these young people and get them safe to 16 and get them to 18 and let’s see if we can go and get you the job.

Sean O’Neill: Was there a turning point that you went down the route of really wanting to help people or was it always inside you?

Paul Walmsley: I think I’ve always helped people because stuff that had happened to me as a kid, like being left on the step when I was 7, like one of the people in our road were going to take me out do you want to take me on holiday and next minute they’re going and I’m not with them in the car. And it was like, whoa, I got left and I remember going in and crying my eyes out bawling but on me own, and thinking right that’s not going to happen again. I think right there is an identity issue and neglect and attachment issues as well. Because I was brought up by, me brothers and sisters. There was nine of us. I was the youngest of nine. My mum was always out working. Dad was always out working. Mum done her best to love and nurture me. But it was my sisters who I attached myself to and me brothers. And once they got married, I’d have to go to someone else then. So, I’ve always had attachment issues. Still to this day I’ve got them.

Sean O’Neill: I watched the Arnold documentary recently and he talks quite openly about his upbringing. And he said, what made him into the person that he is today was also caused his brother to end up dying in a car crash.

Paul Walmsley: Yeah.

Sean O’Neill: So, do you do you feel that your journey has been the reason you’ve ended up and the challenges you’ve had in life ended up? What I see now is you have an identity and the identity as people. You have an, what I see now is you have an identity that people, respect, talk about they want to get to know you. So, you’ve forged an identity of someone that you’ll be proud of. The story behind the man of today. Do you know now exactly what your identity is?

Paul Walmsley: So, two-fold I’ll give you the first thing because you mentioned Arnold and the similarities about that story to my story. Because my sister passed away at an early age as well, so that was difficult times and it was under strange circumstances. Not really going to go into detail about that. But the second one about like feeling that I have got that identity and I have changed and everyone’s always saying to me, you must be proud of yourself. You must be proud of yourself. Actually, I’m not. I’ve got no to that. It’s a bit imposter syndrome but it’s also a bit I think because dad ruled with an iron fist and there was a time that I was a really good footballer from the age of 10 to I’d say 19. And everyone thought I was possibly going to be a footballer. But dad wouldn’t let me play for the best team in the area. He called me a Glory Hunting bastard. And just wouldn’t sign the signing on forms and I was absolutely livid. And I used to like cry to my mom, mom to get him to sign the forms.

Sean O’Neill: So how did you deal with those things?

Paul Walmsley: How do I deal with it?

Sean O’Neill: How did you deal with it at the in those days?

Paul Walmsley: Well, I had to play for the team that he wanted me to play for which was his mate, because I was one of the best players. But I wish me dad dead and six months later he was dead. So, is it’s that, did that is that what I wanted? Knowing what I know now, no but that’s what sent me the other way then. Because it was that identity and then I wanted to fit in there, because the three things me dad said to me was, one don’t hang round by the Crown Pub. 2, don’t hang around with these people and three stay away from drugs. So, well done A, B and C. He also did tell me not to gamble. He said the best way to double your money is fold it in half and put it back in your pocket and I don’t gamble to this day.

Sean O’Neill: One out of four.

Paul Walmsley: Yeah, but the others which it didn’t. They were lessons that that’s got me here today. Is it mapped out? Is it meant to be that way? But it’s that identity and it’s a sense of duty of which is driving me and that’s why I have that. There’s no real sense of pride but there’s a sense of duty and I’d rather have that because it just keeps driving me to do the right thing and be relentless with it as well.

Sean O’Neill: I remember hearing a quote that stuck by me most of my life, that emotions that are buried inside you will see you at your funeral. I did realize that I held onto a lot of emotions, as most I’m not saying this shouldn’t be the case. As most kids do or teenagers or even adults. So, I’ve worked really hard at digging deep and to try and understand me as a person and how to make myself the best I can be. Now I know we have touched on subjects like NLP and other ways of gaining greater learning over ourselves. Do you feel that you’ve dealt with the emotional backpack that you’ve had throughout your life?

Paul Walmsley: No. Certainly not. I was only talking about that last night, so I was walking back from the match last night and one side of me had a philosopher in law and theory. The other side he had a psychiatrist that the side of me we were talking about trauma. And I think that we were speaking because obviously we were at Anfield. Anfield’s my Mecca and my home and we were talking about Hillsborough and I think it’s still there. It’s massively still there with me and I need to go back. I need to revisit that. I need to go and I am going to go one day, I’m going to get in my car. I’m going to drive there. And just revisit that little sort of part of my life where still sort of sits in a place where that trauma is and where them emotions are. And I’ll deal with that, because the last two years for me has been difficult in terms of lockdown and people passing away around me and family and children.

It’s not been easy. It’s not been easy at all Sean. But I like them challenges. I like to embrace them challenges and you mentioned NLP and there’s loads of things within NLP that give me the foundation because I had no belief system. I’m not really religious, so I had to find someone tangible. And so, my dad was here and I knew my dad. So, my dad became my god and if I want to sit and pray or sit and ask anyone for anything that’s who I ask and that’s who I sit and speak to. I don’t go to church, but I am spiritual. I believe in me and the power of us all. So, there’s things which I found out about myself which I didn’t necessarily speak about beforehand, but I’m open to speak now. And especially young people and try and give them a little bit of guidance along the way, but NLP was a great thing for me in terms of exploring who I am, how I work, what my learning styles are, what other people’s learning styles are, to be open, to be honest, to be loving. And also, it’s okay to be difficult at times as well.

Sean O’Neill: Can you explain to those people that don’t know what NLP stands for?

Paul Walmsley: So, Neurolinguistic Programming, it’s a way of reframing life and looking at it from different perspectives. So, listening to what people say and I mentioned early on about that skill of listening to what people don’t say. that’s what I got from NLP of being able to zoom in on certain things. It’s like people will say, oh, did you hear that when they’ve seen it. so, they’re giving their sensory systems away and there’s ways of doing that and it was, to start with it was a sales tool. So, someone who loved who was kinesthetic, you go or get in the car, how does that feel, how does that feel in the seat or rev the engine for someone who is auditory. So, they could hear that sound as well.

So, it was a great way for me to explore who I was and at that time I’d written the book and I was going through the different points of the book and it was what was weird about it I was looking and I was going trauma, trauma, trauma. And I was thinking, ooh, and it wasn’t until after I got to jail and I went to do a lecture in Hope University and they had an expert on in the Aces adverse childhood experiences. And there were six tick boxes about what had gone on in your life and I ticked every single one of them. And so, I was always going to jail. So now with these young people if they say certain things I’m going, you realize you’re going to go to jail and they’re like no I’m not going to go. No, you are.

Sean O’Neill: The data out there that most people must tick quite a few of those boxes. Is that not the case?

Paul Walmsley: Yeah, but ticking all of them.

Sean O’Neill: So, t’s the last, if you leave one box out you’ve got a chance.

Paul Walmsley: No, I mean look what makes us all the same is that we’re all different. And as we grow older, we have different people around us and I’m going to that’s the Jim Rohn quote, if you’re the average of the five or six people who you spend most of the time with. Last night I was with a philosopher and a psychiatrist other side of me, do you know today I’m with you and I’m with I’m with the rest of the people around us. No, but it is about that it’s who you surround yourself with. And so, we’ve just done a, we’ve just been working on a knife crime video and one of the things that I say to the young people just before we show them this video is, I want you to close your eyes and think about the five or six people who you spend most of your time with. And if any of them have got anything to do with any crime that’s going on in your estate or anything that’s bad especially if you know any of them who carry knives or talk about it, then you’re putting yourself at risk. And I really truly believe that. We were going on and before about lifting your roots up and putting it in a bigger pot and moving you on. It’s the same things with these young people.

Sean O’Neill: I share your passion for Liverpool and the community and we’ll go back to that in a minute. What I’d like to know is have you, do you believe now although maybe you don’t action all the tools to keep a successful life or to keep a straight path and keep it going forward as successful as it has been recently. You feel comfortable you’ve got the tools inside you now or do you feel that you still have pieces of the puzzle?

Paul Walmsley: No there’s so much, it’s ever changing and we’ve just got to go with it. We were talking before about AI. So, it’s about how we going to use AI moving forwards and we’re coming up with plans to develop teaching styles through AI to then reach all these young people who don’t get that chance because what you’ve got in loads of the schools. You’ve got issues. I can give you an example in the north of the city the school what we’re working in, which 20 years ago had two languages spoken, now it’s got 42 languages spoken. It’s a mainly, it was a predominantly white Catholic area. So, the Catholic schools cherry pick their kids to go in that, which leaves everyone else left. Which then goes to the Church of England school, which has got SEND at working at about 30 to 40%. Now they’ve only got capacity to look after 15%, and when I talk about capacity.

Sean O’Neill: What is SEND?

Paul Walmsley: It is Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. So, any kids who will need extra time and extra care and extra money spent on them, because it will be inevitably to the money. So, I think to a normal school child who as classed as normal and not on the spectrum is about £9,000 per year. If they have educational needs and you need some one-on-one support it’s 22. So, it goes up by 12, 13 grand. Now if you’ve only budgeted for 15% of that and you’ve got double that, then you’re in trouble. So, then that school becomes in trouble. Not only does the school come in trouble, the community comes in trouble. If the community becomes troubled by that, then it’s going to have a knock-on effect along the way which is then going to impact on the taxpayer and where money gets spent.

So, if we have an early intervention and we can look after that and get business to look after that and get us as a community and as a society to come together and go look here’s the problem. It’s an easy fix, but here’s what we have to do. And this is exactly what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to spot these, and because I work in the universities. I work with public health at the University of Liverpool and I work with the School of Law and Social Justice at University of Liverpool and the forensic psychology department. All of the researchers we can get to come to this school and it takes a bit of pressure away whereas then staff feel like they’re being supported so then staff can do a little bit of extra work. We’re taking major organizations into that school to see if they can help us fund some project and we’re looking for businesses to come in to alleviate some pressure and so we’ve been running a project in there where we take a forensic science expert witnessing.

We’ve got a meditation program running from Hope University. One of the students who’s a masters educational psychologist who goes in there two days a week. We have an MMA fighter who goes in there two days a week and teaches respect. And discipline through MMA, we have a coach who’s coach at Liverpool Football Club going and has taken over the football team because they had no football team and now we’re have a mini bus for them and some more support money wise so they can buy in some more help to for their SEND. And then sorry, sorry Sean and because there’s 42 languages spoken, then what we’ve got it’s fragmented in different corners. So, we’ve gone outside of that neighborhood to where that type of sort of diversity exists and we’re going to be doing food crossover where the local community in the Cumbia Marley Centre is going to come and cook some food and we’re going to go there.

We’re going to cook some food. We’ll get to know each other. We we’ll be able to swap and talk about culture, talk about what we like, because it’s very difficult in a predominantly white area and then so we have four, five Nigerian families, then we have some Syrians, we have some Albanians, we have some Spanish, some Portuguese, some Brazilian. It’s bringing all that together and making it sort of cohesive because right now it’s not.

Sean O’Neill: The purpose of the podcast is to discuss success. What it looks like and how to implement it in everyday life. As I went through my career and my life, I realized that eh money was one part of the success. But part of my success is a lot of the things you’ve talked about of community, the support of people, finding good people around you. The top five I probably have 50 top people in my life now.

Paul Walmsley: Lens 10.

Sean O’Neill: Yeah, so I’ve 10X my Jim Rohn quote. But some people listening to us today might think a lot of the things that you have mentioned is dependent on economics, on having funds to be able to bring these people together, to bring talent, because I know that there is an altruistic side that you have an abundance and there is a lot of great people out there willing to do something for little or no financial reward. How much do you think money and financial support plays a role in a percentage term effectively?

Paul Walmsley: Go and ask Pep Guardiola that question. So, we’re talking about the economics. I mean we’ve got Man City who most of you one of the best football teams on the planet and the like the Harlem Grobe tosses of football at the minute. And it’s all down to money and good management. It’s not just, it has to be spent wisely. It’s not just about the economics, it’s about what you do with that economically and how you make that grow and they have grew that club exponentially in every way, shape, or form. The only thing they haven’t got and I know there’s people going to be watching this and the fans. I’m just letting you know now. You’re so woeful. But we’ve got this in the pool. We’ve got the people. We have the skill set. We have this nature of wanting to make things better. We have this DNA of wanting to look big out there and be visionary and in my head right now there’s most of you about 40 plates spinning. That’s most of the over that side.

There is [INAUDIBLE WORD 37:51] over that side sometimes and there is a beating monkey on a drum at the bottom with no skin on it at sometimes. But and that’s frustration but yet economics is one huge part of it, but doing it right and having the right team around you. You’ve just said you’ve got 50 and I said immediately give me ten of them. Give me ten. What should I do with it? What’s how we do? How we’d roll with it? It’s not just about the money, it’s about getting the right people on the bus doing the right thing. Doesn’t matter where the bus is going. Just having the right people there.

Sean O’Neill: Yeah, and I think that’s again did I make my own luck or was I lucky when I arrived here 20 years ago, but…

Paul Walmsley: Is it luck? Is it just hard work? Do we do…?

Sean O’Neill: I’m being modest at the lucky bit, I guess. If you try so many things a few of them have to have to turn up good. So, tell me about your current project.

Paul Walmsley: So, born out of necessity cause of austerity, and because what we found out is things that need to mushroom up and then they become a necessity within the local communities. We’ve set up the social brokers and the strap liners we joined the dots. So that’s because over the past 7 years I’ve been working in schools, colleges, universities, and in communities and realize that there’s a need for people to have a joined-up approach because we just don’t have it. We say we have it, but we don’t. So, we feel there’s a need to do that. So, we’re working with big businesses. We’re working with communities. We’re working with police. We’re working with the councils to join the dots and to one keep young people safe and feel as if they have an insight into being an adult because there is no rite of passage.

So, we’re going to try and bridge that gap and we’re also then going to shepherd those young people who need shepherding and help them families and communities out. We’ve just broken a deal with Caden Gas and the fire service to do carbon monoxide meters, detectors and also fire and smoke detectors in homes. And also, Caden Gas have warmth packages which they’re going to then give to the fire service and we’re going to identify those who need them in the communities and get them put on their priority services register with the gas companies. Just in case if the gas goes off, they will get it switched back on quick air. If they need food vouchers, then they can get food vouchers. So, they don’t have to sort of deal with strain.

So, they’re the types of things that we’re going to be doing at that level, but then there’s an undercurrent of then going to work with families and what we’re finding is like there’s loads of issues and deals need to be broken there amongst themselves. How they deal with other families, how they deal with the staff? And it’s so simple, yesterday we were in a school as a mum walked out school with her with her child. She was going on about how the school had done this and that and I said, are you sure this is true? Are you sure? Because I don’t know whether what you’re saying is 100% right? And we just had a little chat and I was going home because I’d forgot a card for the school which I’d made a handmade card for the school. I just botched it. The card actually. It was me friend makes cards and it was an I love you card.

So, I changed it into I love your school, because I do because the school’s amazing. And I mentioned this to and she went, that’s sweet. And when I was in the school I went home and come back and 30 minutes later one of the staff come in and went, she just brought a card and she just said thank you. so, just that little conversation that changed her attitude where she then gone home come back with the car and so to give that little bit of emotion and changed her emotion within like 30, 40 minutes. And so, it’s little things like that which will make a huge difference. I mentioned earlier on about taking the off schools and communities by giving them extra bodies and then and you mentioned it’s the economics of it.

Well, loads of this that we’re getting this for free, because we have loads of universities who have loads of mass students and students who need to go out and do work within the communities. And we can facilitate that, we can put them in the right area to do the right thing so it has meaning and purpose in the area. So, that’s what the social brokers are going to be doing. We’re going to be working with the FA. We’re going to be working with the football clubs. We’re going to be working with major businesses. Hopefully, we’ll be working with you and your foundation, fingers crossed who knows and just joining the dots across and making, you know what? Just doing the right thing and that’s what it’s about, is it does it come from an altruistic sort of nature? Yeah, but it also comes from the being in need for it in our communities.

Sean O’Neill: Doing the right thing, means we can all benefit including you.

Paul Walmsley: True death.

Sean O’Neill: It’s nice to go to sleep at night and think you’ve done an honest day’s work and made an impact. So business is in my blood and although I like to see myself as having an altruistic side, I do know that we all have to make money to survive. So, the social project is also a business.

Paul Walmsley: We will be having a launch in March. We will be coached by top coaches who are going to give their time free of charge to start with, because we have to go from that basis. We have to bid for funding. We have to rely on projects to help us go into schools, to help us go into communities. And that’s why we’ve tapped into big business and we’ve tapped into projects which we’ve worked on before, and we know that say for instance, Merseyside Police have funded us with a project one of the companies which we set up two years ago to go and combat county lines. So hopefully, we might be able to bid in that in April, and then we go to some of the businesses who we’ve spoken to and they have a duty of care within their area and so we tap into their social value.

So, the last business we were in for every pound invested in us, the social value return was £530 and from a standing start and was only two years. The social return on that was 3 million and which is huge from a standing start, and I know we could get that up to 6 million to 12 million to 24 million once we start to scale that up. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do. We’re going to be using AI. We’re going to be using all the decarbonization elements of getting people upskilled and into work. We will be using even coffee is a huge business at the minute. Baristas, there’s a shortage of baristas and training them up to do the right thing.

We’ll be going down them routes to employment. Construction, you can’t get construction workers. So, we’ll be training them up. People to go and work with gas, so we can get them sheer qualified CSES cards. It’s just, there’s a quick fix to getting people back on track so the plank length starts with the primary school level, early intervention, doing work within the communities. And the other end of the plank length is based on job stop bullets and upskill people and getting them into the workforce and putting money and meaning and purpose in their pockets and in their mindsets.

Sean O’Neill: Have you got a certain metrics you’re using to for all these millions and how it’s going to be translated once you’ve done it?

Sean O’Neill: Well, that’s why we work with other organizations and our metrics right now how we can help in a single community. So, we’re starting in a single community. We work in two schools at the minute which we’ll double that up to four schools come July. We have to then get that evaluated by the universities which we’re getting done at the minute. So, the University of Liverpool and Hope University are going to do evaluations on it. Once we have that academic measuring tool done. That’s when we take it to the Green Book, which is the “.gov.uk/greenbook” of social value and we’ll get that evaluated properly and then we’ll see that social return and I know contracts are heavily weighted towards social value and we’ll tap into to businesses to help us grow and then we can help the communities grow.

It’s a non-for-profit organization. We’re going to plow everything back in. We’re going to be upskilling those in the community who need upskilling as far as metrics are concerned. I will leave that to the accountants and the people who do the Count the Beads which we have got some amazing who are advising us around that. That’s something if I’m honest is not my bag and for someone who was in.

Sean O’Neill: And we just know that so many people have advanced. There’re so many jobs. There’re so many apprenticeships. You know that there’ll be certain metrics that don’t wouldn’t be maybe monetary based that you’ve delivered.

Paul Walmsley: Yeah, well what we’ve realized when we’re getting huge businesses to change the way they look at employing people, so they’re employing on attitudes and not on skill level and also lower in the ceiling of expectation. And one of the things we have learnt along the last two years is that we have a great gift of socializing people from one period in their life and so getting them ready for the transition into another period of their life. So, it is a socialization process of what we’re doing and it’s really unique and it’s person centered which for those who’ve done NLP, it is a huge person centered or NLP sorry. It’s a huge person-centered approach.

Sean O’Neill: Well, I heavily weighted towards given groups but more so individuals their time if they need it because I do know the group scenario is fantastic, but to be able to give some individual time to that person or persons can impact their whole life. So, I’d be delighted to speak with you on how maybe I could attend to do some, give some of my wisdom to not just kids but to anyone who needs it. I’ve been helped as a kid and an adult and some of my most difficult times where when I was also an adult. So, I definitely would I’m open to, I truly mean it if I can help one person, I feel like I’m happy if I can help more than one will, that’s the icing on the key.

Paul Walmsley: Well, that’s exactly what we’re about and when anyone says and offers up any help and they say, well, what’s the next step. The next step is you just come and have a look what we do. I’m not going to say how you’re going to help or how you can help and if you want to help but anyone who offers that up it’s like just come and see what we do. If you think you fit in there and you can help and you can help change any of that identity then by all means let’s…

Sean O’Neill: Yeah, my foundation is not just based on giving money based on as we’ve spoken about now the tools and the wisdom and making sure people are able to become wise through past and future experiences.

Paul Walmsley: So, a story around that is that years ago I was working in a school in a really deprived area. In fact, it was the school which housed the other killers, Reece Jones went there and the year late there was like I think 1100 boys went that school, and I think the year later the only 450 boys went to that school because no one wanted to send the kids there. And so, a couple of years after that I was asked to go and do some work within that school and I’m trying to explain to this young 12-year-old what he’s doing is risky behavior. And I said, I’m trying to give you some knowledge. Do you understand what knowledge is? And he said, is that by Ipswich? I had to take it was funny but I had to take a step back and thought okay so I listened to what he didn’t say. And then I said, okay, so how do you know Norwich is by Ipswich. And he said, oh, my father is in jail there. And then that opens up another conversation and then you can see where he’s going and we spoke about the aces before about the adverse childhood experience and that is part of that. And then you realize that, okay, you have a different approach.

Sean O’Neill: Yeah. And that’s the individual approach.

Paul Walmsley: Yeah.

Sean O’Neill: And that’s what you’re exceptionally good at is going in with your tools but then taking that individual approach when needed which is always needed.

Paul Walmsley: And that’s why it’s the no plan-plan. And that’s when they make the plan. Because the no plan-plan is just an initial assessment. And then you make the plan from that but that plan has to be bespoke and and it has to keep being bespoke. Because it will be forever changing because every day is a new day with new problems and new issues. But also, none of yesterday’s misgiven if you want. So, it’s all about growing that and getting out in the community. And it’s sort of it, and I think we we’ve hit upon before about like sort of I ended up in jail having a bit of a bad time and I think that’s what changed. It was a week in jail which was just horrendous for me which my mum told I got found out my mum was termly ill. The girl I was with for 17 years said, she was going to marry a childhood sweetheart and it turned out to be someone else. That was a bad day and then my sister passed away all within a week. And I remember scrambling to write a letter to me mum to say sorry.

Six months later, I was still writing this letter. I had a lot to say sorry for or so I thought which turned out to be a book which was published while I was in custody and done really well, became a best seller, award-winning Koestler Award, won the Platinum Prize, won a writing scholarship and that then I just sort of let that sit there when I got out.

Sean O’Neill: So let let’s not just wash over the book because that is a huge part of your life and above all the other things, you’re also an author. So, can we go back to the moment where you actually knew this could have been a book or is going to be a book?

Paul Walmsley: So, what happened was someone passed me a book in jail and it was called Sumo and it was by Paul McGee and it means stand up for Shut Up and Move On and in it with these sorts of tips and said, if you want to do something and write it on a piece of A4, put it in your eyeline when you wake up. So, and it was three things to ask for. The first one was be a better father. The second one was to write me life story and the third one was la piano and guitar better than I could. I could play guitar, okay? Piano not so good, but it was learning an instrument. And so, I put them there and went for it and I ended up winning an award in jail. A little competition, a poetry competition where one of the prison officers Miss Turgaus used to come in and said how come you’re always writing? What is he doing? And the show did I went to write these poems and sing them on me guitar and I don’t know whether the songs. I don’t know whether the poems and then she come in the day after and left a book on my bed which was she’d had poetry published in her name. And we had this little thing going and next minute she gives me a form and says go enter this competition.

I won this competition. I got a published author by the name of Andy Croft to come and see me in jail, which then we started this group within the jail. Because I didn’t want it to just be me there was like 10 lads on the wing who were all gifted who were all creative and I said, no, this is about all of us this just isn’t about me. So, that grew then and then that obviously I’d had that week where I’ve told you which was just full of trauma and I thought let’s write this book. So, I used to then go back to the selling and I’d write and I wrote every night for six months. It took me six months to write 180,000 words. And then each week did allow me to read out for 20 minutes sections of what I’d written and all the lads thought it was great.

So, I was getting acceptance from my peers which I thought this is okay. Anyway, I wrote this and never thought nothing of it because it was all by hand. Went to another jail, there was a creative writing teacher in there, I passed it on her desk. I always remember going in and I had to look through the window and she went, who’s that? And I went, oh, someone just said that like you’re the creative writing teacher and I should come and see you. And she went, are you a **** midget? I was like, what? I was fuming. I was absolutely fuming until like bads in the class. I’m like, what? And anyway, she turns out to be the most intelligent person.

Sean O’Neill: So, she was right.

Paul Walmsley: Well yeah, I am 5.6’. But it was the funniest thing. She is about 6.4’. Her name was Rebecca Tallentire and she was the one who coined the phrase Wags. She was Everton’s historian and she was just amazing. And I said, I’ve written this book. She went, yeah, everyone says that. Anyway, so I give it a thing and don’t think it out [INAUDIBLE WORD 57:00]. Anyway, about six weeks later she just comes howling in the gym and I’m running on the gym. Used to run every day for an hour and saying an hour at night as well on weights. I’m just pounding in the gym just looking out this window looking at all the ducks in Kenneth Jail in the gull. Walmsley, Walmsley, we’re going to have to type this up. This is going to win the Koestler Award. I said, what’s the Koestler Award? She went, come with me, and then I typed with one finger like that. And I had to check then. I was just the worst in the world. I had no skills. Because don’t forget there was no iPhones then for you to learn to type.

Sean O’Neill: Dictation probably it wouldn’t have worked either.

Paul Walmsley: No, not in there and it was, anyway I wasn’t good with IT although I did have a level three IT qualification which I got two years previous when I first went to jail. But then they don’t let you use computers for whatever reason in certain jails. So anyway, we typed it up and low and behold it won the Koestler Award. They allowed me to go to the Barbican  Centre in London to get the award off Michael Gove that stuck on me throat a little. but it still to get a day out while you’re in prison was just amazing and then I finished it off when I come out of jail got it published it got serialized in the Daily Mirror. And I was like okay this is okay and then a couple of years later I met Ian Lysaght and we were talking and someone said, oh, he’s written a book. And I went, yeah. And he said, okay, I’m going to download the book now anyway a couple of hours later he just rings me up. He said, Right, we’re going to turn this into his script. I said, are we? And he went, yeah.

So, a couple of weeks after that I went to see a play in town and I was speaking to some actor who was in the play and was talking to him and someone said, oh, Paul’s written a book. And then three weeks after that the actor knocks at my door and went, I’m playing you. I went, are you? Yeah, it was, no, you’re not. Because when we were talking about it.

Sean O’Neill: Who would you choose to play you?

Paul Walmsley: Well, everyone says Stephen Graham because there’s some similarities, but I just don’t, I see Stephen Graham as my dad. He’ll be fuming if he’s watching this. If he’s watching it, are you? But I see him as the dad part character because that is intense and that’s moody and I think because loads of it’s based when I’m younger. I think James Nelson Joyce would be perfect for it and we also spoken to Bobby Schofield about playing one of the other characters, Tivo and we’ve changed everything crowned and obviously embellished a little bit of it to make it into a story. But it’s mainly based on what went on. And yes, so we’ve it took like two or three years to really sculpt it and I knew nothing about writing a script.

In fact, I remember writing the first couple of thousand words on a word document and I showed it to him. He went, have you never heard a final draft? And I went, no, what’s that? And it was basically like, it was like someone telling you you’re doing a Spanish exam so you learn Spanish and then you go to do the test and basically, it’s a French test. That’s why it was like, and I was going what have you done to me. And then so I had to learn all this sort of new jargon in essence and this new technique about to write a script and I knew nothing about exposition. And I went what’s exposition and he went go and watch yours, so I just watched yours and I was like, okay. So, now to this day I can’t watch any TV or anything without thinking how this is made how, this is written, how it’s being cast, where the dress has come from, how authentic it is, whether that’s the accent is right. And so, there’s always a playoff now.

So, I’m going to say thanks Ian for giving me that because now I’ve just, I don’t know how many series I’ve watched, how many hours I’ve watched Succession about five times, I keep constantly watching the Sopranos, I keep constantly watching The Offer, which is the documents, well the drama based upon the making of the godfather which I just find amazing. And then speaking to people around that business, so the script as you can see, I’m getting like all energetic about it. It has been an amazing thing for me to do and I absolutely love it and can’t wait to hopefully start filming the pilot fingers crossed in April.

Sean O’Neill: You’re an extremely busy man but one thing we haven’t touched on is actually you. You look after so many people. The big word on the street is burnout and how people are nearly taken on too much as we spoke about earlier. Have you found that balance to make sure that Paul Walmsley is there for the long term to look after yourself as well as everybody else? And if so, what are those things? And if not, what are those things that you’re going to put in place?

Paul Walmsley: You know what? You couldn’t be more spot on. Yeah, have it burnt out a few times. Last year I got COVID a few times as well. I do try and look after myself. So, what I done 19 months ago was one stop drinking. Because I just didn’t want to put a hangover into the equation as well.

Sean O’Neill: Was that after the night out with me?

Paul Walmsley: Just right after the night out with you yeah. Yeah. Bottles of wine and knowing I had to go home was not a good next day for me. And I think because the types of work that I do and I have to feel it and because I’m an empath and because I really do feel it, that taking alcohol out of my equation has been one of the best things I’ve done. Don’t get me wrong. I feel like going out and get mortal a few times, but it’s not like an addiction where I’m craving for it. I will pick the moment and I will pick the company and pick the right time if I want to drink. But right now, I’m getting so much done without it and feel so much better. That’s fine so there’s that. I’ve started training again, so I got an app. a fitness app and over the past 12 months I’ve trained 176 days out of the year. And I’ve done at least 40 minutes, which for me that’s good.

I feel a little bit fitter. I’ve started to do weights because I had a few injuries. I ended up getting ago which is through COVID, which has been an absolute nightmare but I’ve just trooped on with it and it’s not life threatening. It’s a pain in the ****. Feeling dizzy and feeling a little bit sick now and again but it’s just march on just march on with it. Hopefully, get myself a few holidays. I haven’t really been on holiday for a while. I’ve had some relationship issues. Some family issues as well with mum passing and my ex and my kid’s mum passing within the last couple of years. It’s been traumatic. So, my focus is on my kids and my grandkids. Being a grandfather as like being next level. Going to house and seeing my little grandson and I’m looking at him thinking, I’m going to have to give you my season ticket for the match. I’m fuming because season ticket to the premium at Liverpool Football Club and I know he’s the only…

Sean O’Neill: You have to get two.

Paul Walmsley: It’s very difficult to get them. I mean me and my son sit next to each other.

Sean O’Neill: If this script goes well then, you’ll get a few offered to you.

Paul Walmsley: Listens yeah, so be it and you know what? The one of the reviews of the book was I love it and I do really love it so that Paul fell into Clyde, he’d be the type of person to come up with the salmon in his mouth. And you talk about luck, but I talk about in my head and to myself about endeavor and about passion and about doing the right thing and about having integrity. And I know we spoke before a little bit sort of before we started, we were talking about integrity and once that’s questioned, how that change you as a person, as a man, as a business person, as a father, as a friend and everything just changed once that’s questioned and I and I’m trying me best to make sure that that integrity is there. You know I don’t, in 2010, I’d smoked and I’d drank and maybe taken recreational drugs then. Nothing. I’ve taken nothing since 2010. I’m clean. I like being that way. I like being alert. I like being focused.

Yeah, I’ve had therapy over the past 18 months because of what went on with sort of one of my exes and the kids mom and so that was difficult and the main focus of that is what you’ve exactly just said of what do you do for you?

Sean O’Neill: One point that everyone can understand I guess is sleep and you touched on the fact you don’t sleep very well.

Paul Walmsley: I’ve, it’s got better. I mentioned about the noise, the brownie and noise and the car map which I’ve now got. Yeah, it’s I think because I’m an overthinker and do I catastrophize. I can go to that place very quickly. I think one of the things I’ve learned along the way and this is from reading the some of the self-help books and the Anthony Robbins books and some of the Bandler and Grinder books who devised NLP.

Sean O’Neill: So, for anyone knowing that Richard Bandler is the founder of NLP.

Paul Walmsley: Yeah, so the structure of magic and how you can catastrophize and the way I look at it and there’s many times when in my old game where someone hadn’t paid the bill and I’d be in the mirror and I’d be going, yeah, listen you haven’t paid that bill and like and you’re having this argument.

Sean O’Neill: You should be the man that’s in your movie then, shouldn’t you?

Paul Walmsley: No, but you you’re having that argument with yourself in the mirror and then when you see that person, you go “are you alright”. You don’t even go there and it’s like why have you wasted all that energy, all that time? Whatever you’ve wasted it’s just wasted and it’s like so we try and do some of that role play with some of the young people. And I think you mentioned early on how come they, how do you get these young people to touch you. And if you’re authentic and you’re willing let them, see your vulnerabilities because for me being vulnerable is a huge, huge, huge bonus.

Sean O’Neill: Do they think you’re being modest and you’re actually not really vulnerable? Do they think that you’ve got it all together? I’ll give you my.

Paul Walmsley: I don’t know that answer.

Sean O’Neill: I’ll give you, my example. When I meet people, they assume due to what they’ve heard about me that I’ve got all my shit together.

Paul Walmsley: Sorry, I’m just going to have to say, I bounced in here early on and you’re wearing these shades and you look like Sarah Palin.

Sean O’Neill: I was meditating.

Paul Walmsley: You’ve bought glasses to meditate. Wow.

Sean O’Neill: That’s another story.

Paul Walmsley: I buy a karma.

Sean O’Neill: That’s for another podcast.

Paul Walmsley: You want to look cool while you meditate. When I just want to meditate.

Sean O’Neill: So, when I speak to people and I get to know them for the first or second time. It’s great that they think, it’s great that I come across authentic, but I do reiterate that there’s so many things that I still haven’t got together. I’ve put part of the puzzle of life together and I’ve reached a place in my life where is deemed as successful. But there’s so much more although sometimes, they still think I’m being modest or I’m playing down and I don’t mean monetary success. I mean success of having it together. Like I wake up every morning, and I think what really helps me is I don’t expect too much out of the day. My mum has a saying that when you get up in the morning and put your feet on the ground, it’s a good day.

Paul Walmsley: Do you wake up alone?

Sean O’Neill: That’s not for, I have done sometimes.

Paul Walmsley: Most of the times over the past two years I’ve woke up alone. And it was only this morning it’s weird that the things just jump out of you and there was a stat that loneliness can contribute to speed your mortality rate up by 26% and it’s the same as the obesity rate as well. And I think so me coming from a big family and me having loads of relationships along the way and then relationships, listen to relationships. Is any relationship permanent? No. Is there any guarantees? No, and going back to the sort of the gym paradox and the Doctor Steve Peters thing, there’s no guarantees in life. The goal posts are always going to move and life just ain’t fair. Life just ain’t fair sometimes and if you…

Sean O’Neill: But that’s okay.

Paul Walmsley: Yeah, but that’s fine. Put them in your sight, he’d leave them there, when the shit hits the fan. It’s one of them and that’s it. But it’s the same as you know your biggest weakness is your biggest quality and to understand that. I know my biggest weakness is networking, but it’s a huge quality because I networked my way over to South America. I networked myself into a drug gang. I networked myself into so also, I’ve done is I’ve reframed all that, because from when I went into jail, I had a phone which I lashed which had loads of drug dealers around the world and their phone numbers in and then I get out of jail and I’ve got like Paul McGee the sumo guy. I’ve got David Grant who’s the spiritualist and the LBC presenter. I’ve got Jamie Carragher’s number in there. I’ve got an attempt Tennessee who is the CEO of the North West Probation, company who’s been one of my biggest mentors. And now that has just grown. And that’s all from making one good decision, that’s all from going and going put a belief system in place.

Not only put a let’s make some good decisions, because you can bet your bottom dollar. I know you’re not really a footy fan, but all of those Premier League players it’s all about passing to their players. It’s all about making the right decisions. You’re talking about having business people around you. It’s all about decision making and who you have around you, who you can trust to make them decisions that you can’t. One thing I have learnt over the past couple of months people who delegate understanding and I think you have to have a broad understanding about most things before you start delegating any understanding. Because once you do that, I think that’s a recipe for disaster. It’s really, it’s shortsightedness and I think so that for me has been one of the biggest learning curves of the past 2 years anyway.

Sean O’Neill: I like to delegate but also, I’m happy to put my trust in people and if they providing their intentions is right, the values are right. Even if it doesn’t work out, what does disaster look like? If I go back over all the disasters that I’ve had. There’re a few dark days, a few difficult moments but as for disaster, I think that word maybe I wouldn’t use it now.

Paul Walmsley: There’s a training center in Gillmoss that the fire service used and they’ve got a disaster rubble training like mound. I’ll show you what disaster looks like. It’s in there. It’s in Crockett, it’s in the fire training center and you don’t want to be in that. because if you’re under that rubble, it’s so weighty metaphorically speaking that it happens. And I think that’s where my drive comes from is, I mean think about what’s going on over in the world at the minute with all the troubles in Palestine and with Israel and Palestine. And it’s just you can’t begin to think what’s.

Sean O’Neill: And that’s where if you put things into perspective.

Paul Walmsley: Our life is here but there’s still there’s life going on around the world and it’s a huge, huge, huge set of issues and that’s why maybe keeping abreast of what’s going on around the world will give you a perspective about where you are and where you sit and how grateful you should be for things that we have.

Sean O’Neill: One very difficult time that would’ve, that was seen as disaster for my father was the time that his house burnt down. My dad struggled to cope with the fact that he lost almost everything. So, I try to figure out a way of how this was even possible to recover and I’m always off to saying that the darkest day or the biggest disaster will always come up with a path that can end up bringing light that you maybe haven’t seen before. And the first thing I had to do was find them accommodation, they bear in mind.

Paul Walmsley: If you haven’t got a few flats like, is it?

Sean O’Neill: Well yeah, he’d have to move to Liverpool. Bear in mind my mum and dad didn’t speak for 33 years or stay in the same room apart from if, they had to maybe pass.

Paul Walmsley: So, a proper dysfunctional family.

Sean O’Neill: Yeah.

Paul Walmsley: Wow.

Sean O’Neill: For reasons it’s not important now. So, I got to work with insurance companies and builders and I tried to calm my dad down. My dad’s quite an emotional man with a big heart that tries to do great for everyone and just he couldn’t understand why someone would do that to him. So, the first phone call I had to make is try and find my dad a house. The house next door to my mom’s was my nan’s, that me and my mom had built for my nan and she’d not long passed away. So, I rang up my mum expecting the news to be absolutely not. He’s not coming near my house or the farm. His mum explained the story and my mum says, well, do you know something? I’m not that bad. He’d be very welcome.

Now, that obviously touched a chord with my mom, the 33 years of me being here because of my mom and dad. That touched a chord with my mom that nothing else did before. What happened over the next 6 months was me, my mom and my dad spending time together. My mom is a phenomenal baker. And within three months from me being so upset for 33 years that my mum and dad couldn’t be in the same room. My mum was making cake, my mum was making fresh bread every morning. Lemon cake and dinner for evening. My dad put on almost a stone in weight to the point.

Paul Walmsley: To trying to kill him that way.

Sean O’Neill: To try to kill him that way. But the point is that.

Paul Walmsley: Not too loneliness through.

Sean O’Neill: Yeah. So, one dark time has now ended up in having such a fruitful outcome that we are all friends again. And that story of many stories is something that when these things have happened in my life, incredibly beautiful times have come out of it through the support of my network or how I’ve had to dig deep or all of the above and plus the appreciation that it’s never, there’s always somebody worse out there.

Paul Walmsley: So, in the same premise of what you’ve just said in terms of going back to where I am and what I’m trying to do with these communities. And I see this desperation there, but I also see that the bread, the bacon, the opportunity there which is the same thing. It’s about let’s work together, because I understand where we’re at right now. It doesn’t mean we’re going to be in 10, 15, 20 years we’re going to be there. We can be in a much better place if we do the prevail. Let’s bake the bread together and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do with the with the world of these communities.

Sean O’Neill: It’s a pleasure to be here with you and I have a huge passion for Liverpool, the people of Liverpool. What they’ve done for me and what they continue to do for me. And I know you share the exact same values and the exact same reasons you do what you do. So, I just like to thank you for spending this time with me. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

Paul Walmsley: No, it’s been cool and it’s the same what I said before. It’s like I surround myself in the university with a lot of professors, a lot of doctors, loads of senior researchers. I learn loads and I never ever want to be the smartest person in the room and I know I’m not the smartest person in this room and it’s always just great.

Sean O’Neill: Well, who is? It’s only two of us.

Paul Walmsley: There’s not. There’s just not. And that’s another, what that was another one of me things. I just always said I wouldn’t lie anymore. It’s difficult. It’s okay just not telling the truth but just don’t say nothing but I won’t lie. So yeah, there’s more than me and you in the room.

Sean O’Neill: Paul Warmsley, I’d really like to thank you for being here today and sharing your story with me.

Paul Walmsley: Cheers. Been a pleasure.