Katie Cavanna: I’m so proud of the team

Volunteers, Sophy Booth and Jon Spinks, with Ellacombe Academy’s Assistant Head, Corrine Guntrip Pho

Volunteers, Sophy Booth and Jon Spinks, with Ellacombe Academy’s Assistant Head, Corrine Guntrip Photo: Contributed - Credit: Archant

'What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.'

My vision for RE4orm, right from the outset, was to inspire and connect local communities. To bring hope to those who need it, to give a voice to those who cannot find theirs and to spread love to those who cannot feel it.

Our local community interest company, RE4orm, set up its initiative, Food 4 Torbay, right at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis in March. At the end of the fourth week of the project, our tremendous team of volunteers have delivered over 3,100 meals and food parcels to families in need across Torbay.

It would be remiss to ignore the impact this phenomenal group of inspirational people have had on our community. From all different walks of life, backgrounds and beliefs, this tremendous team is united in wanting to make a difference at a time of unprecedented need.

A call to action was put out on social media, just over four weeks ago, when the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic was becoming a reality across the globe. Across social media, I asked for help and assistance in feeding thousands of local families who were already in need, and others who most certainly would be a result of the pandemic. Over 40 willing, enthusiastic and tenacious individuals were welcomed onto Team Re4orm, a team I have never been prouder to be a part of.

Each individual was required to complete the volunteer induction pack – complete with safeguarding and child protection policies plus risk assessments. It is vital that both the team and community are kept safe at all times, this has never been compromised.

Now, the community is connected, many are experiencing much-needed hope and, most importantly, people are not going to bed hungry. Without the volunteers, this simply would not have been possible. The team continues to inspire me; they give me such positivity and a sense of optimism for our community's future. Their dedication and sheer determination know no bounds.

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RE4orm is run by the community, for the community. Its heart is placed firmly at a grassroots level and is shaped by the work of volunteers. Each of them has a voice that helps the work of RE4orm grow and adapt to reflect the needs of others.

It is always a pleasure working with the volunteers each week. They are there, in a heartbeat, to step in for each other. I have shed many tears on the meal packing days during the week, when I have stepped back and watched in wonder, the team work perfectly together like a well-oiled machine, working in unison to pack hundreds of meals. The sounds of joy and laughter that echo from the building, in a time filled with so much angst and worry, is beautifully powerful.

I wanted to celebrate their commitment to RE4orm and asked them to explain why they continue to work so tirelessly in the community. Afterall, these are unpaid volunteers, dedicating their time, skills and experience to RE4orm's work. Here are a few extracts from their thoughts, I am incredibly proud of each and every one of them.

'I'm volunteering because I have been in the position myself with struggling to put food on the table and want to give back to the community that has helped me in the past. There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.'

'I'm volunteering because it's an amazing feeling to be a part of something that is making such a massive difference to those so local and giving them hope that their days are going to get brighter. If you are able to give something back to the community, then why shouldn't we all?'

'I'm volunteering because I've always believed that you might not be able to change the world, but you can change 'someone's' world'