RE4orm’s Katie Cavanna: Everyone has the ability to make a difference

RE4orm's community bus

RE4orm's community bus - Credit: Archant

Somehere inside all of us is the power to change the world.

This power is not just in some of us, it is in every single one of us.

We do not have to create the next big invention, revolutionise an industry or be a well-known figure to change the world and the lives of those around us.

It is how we help others and add value to their lives that is most important.

That desire to make a difference, to instil hope and be there for others, has been the fuel that has lit my passion to help our community from a very early age.

I have always wanted to make a difference and my drive to fight injustice has never diminished.

Starting a community interest company is not what many people would consider to be my career choice. I am pretty famous for being into clothes, lacquered nails, eyelashes and bouncy blow-dries – some have even considered me fickle! Yet, if you know my work background, you will understand how I have ended up where I am.

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I set up RE4orm as a community interest company, over six months ago. People always ask me why I set up RE4orm. I suppose there is not one definitive answer but, I just knew, deep inside of me, there was more I wanted to do, to change the world.

My career has, throughout the last 15 years, included teaching, coaching, advising and supporting.

I have an acute awareness and understanding of the barriers many face when they are experiencing hardship, discrimination or a lack of self-esteem.

After graduating from the University of Exeter, with an honours degree in primary education, I could have, like many of my peers, gone straight into teaching.

Yet, there was something there, pushing me in the direction of a different career.

So, over the last 15 years, I have been very fortunate to have had the most enriching and incredible jobs.

From being an employability tutor on a welfare to work contract, to teaching English to university students in Turkey, to supporting unaccompanied asylum seekers when they entered the UK, I have always sought professions where I could enable and empower society's perceived 'underdogs' to thrive.

Over the last five years, I have worked across the county and in the heart of Torbay.

As an advisory teacher for the Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service, I worked with the gypsy, Roma and traveller communities across Devon.

This opened my eyes to the injustice and discrimination many in our society still face in the 21st century.

I absolutely loved listening to the folk songs being sung by the elders in a Romany family, I was enthralled by the tales of ancestors and shocked to the very core, by the hate that many of these communities still faced.

Within Torbay, I led a team of family support workers for a local multi-academy trust.

We worked on the frontline, with many families in extreme poverty, many who faced incredible hardship and many who had been failed by the system.

Yet, despite the barriers these communities I have worked with all faced, there was an overwhelming feeling of hope for the future.

This hope fuelled my passion for setting up RE4orm. For giving communities a voice, a voice that can and will, change the world.

I have always hated injustice, discrimination and prejudice.

If RE4orm's journey has taught me anything, it is that I know I am not alone.

People from all walks of life have united to make a significant impact on our community.

Once this pandemic is over, I firmly believe that RE4orm will continue to thrive.

In next week's column, I will go into more detail about the future of RE4orm and our exciting plans for Torbay.

Everyone has the ability to make a difference, that in itself is an amazing thing. How will YOU change the world?