Hi there, my name is Tony O'Neill the founder of Animalia Apparel.
I thought it would be a good time to update you on what was behind creating Animalia, what we aim to do and our vision for the months ahead.
I have experienced mental health challenges since I was a teenager. Physical activity – how it promotes mental wellbeing, accountability, connection and purpose – has been key to moving my life from simply surviving, to thriving. Changing my own life made mental and physical wellbeing my passions. Helping others change theirs has made them my career.
Like many kids, I was passionate about sports and being active from the earliest age. As I grew, I developed issues with my weight and self-confidence, I became disconnected from the people and world around me. I felt caged. I left school with no direction and no support. I went down a spiral greased with alcohol and bad decisions.
Finding connection and purpose helped me redirect my life. I spent four summers in the USA, working as a Camp Counselor at a camp for kids and adults with disabilities. I reconnected with myself, with people and with physical activity. I felt accepted. I was accepted. I had a voice, a community and a purpose.
My experience in America set me on course. I took the skills I’d learned at college (Fitness Health and Exercise) and university (Sport and Active Lifestyle Promotion) to Royston Youth Action where I worked as a Children and Young People’s Sport Development Worker. I continued youth work with StreetGames and later with Animalia, making street work a focus of our work.
I live my life open about the challenges I’ve faced and the work I do on my mental and physical health. At age 34, my challenges continue, as they always will. Overcoming my challenges every day inspires me to help others do the same. Our struggles connect us and I’m committing my life to help people overcome theirs – to see them take their lives from surviving to thriving.
I created Animalia with the idea to connect others back to life. It was initially set up to deliver bootcamps but evolved into a brand and now a community organisation.
Animalia helps the disengaged to reconnect with themselves and their lives. It champions people from all walks of life, especially young people, to show how the challenges we face bind us and how, together, we can overcome them.
We understand the challenges ahead and we hope to grow our reach to support more people.
Over the next few months we will be evolving our products and services.
We will be introducing:
-Wellbeing programs such as hill-walking and fitness training ( Using technology until restrictions are lifted )
-Preventative work that provides opportunities to see other ways of thinking
–Athlete support such as training kit and social media support
Thank you for your continued support and we wish you all well.
Tony and the Animalia Team.
Unleash the Animal