Two years on and now RE4orm aim to get that bus on the road

Torbay Weekly

An organisation which has worked wonders and helped hundreds of people in the Bay during the pandemic is celebrating its 2nd birthday. Here Katie Cavanna, the driving force  behind RE4orm, reveals what now lies ahead, including a new mission involving a famous music  band's former tour bus.

"The month of October marked RE4orm’s 2nd birthday and what an interesting two years it has been!

Set up in 2019, to alleviate poverty and raise aspirations for families across Torbay, our projects have been diverse and far-reaching. It is clear that RE4orm has made an impact on many lives. I wanted to thank you, our wonderful community, for your selflessness and compassion.

"This was always the vision, to use our greatest asset - our community of people, to make a tangible difference to one another and our environment. It hasn’t always been easy, at times I have questioned my own abilities, but we have proved, as a team, that we can bring hope even in the darkness."

"At the start of RE4orm’s journey, our long-term plan was focused on our mobile community centre. The inspirational dream to have a community centre on wheels – a one stop shop of accessible provision and support became a reality when we purchased UB40’s old tour bus! However, this project was put on hold in early 2020, when the world changed forever.

"It was evident, back in March 2020, when the whole world appeared to be veering into unprecedented chaos, people sought comfort, even small ones, in the face of extreme uncertainty. One of those small comforts has come to be Fred Rogers’s famous advice to look for the helpers. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,” Rogers said to his television neighbours, “my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

"Step forward Team RE4orm, a collective of over 50 volunteers and 40 local businesses. Knowing the impact school closures would have on families across Torbay, the team stepped up to help those in need.

"Working in partnership with local early years providers, schools, colleges, Torbay Council and Children’s Services, families were referred to RE4orm for help. Local restaurant owners worked with the team to produce, pack and deliver a tremendous 60,000 meals and food parcels to families.

"Alongside the Food 4 Torbay project, we created the RE4orm Recipes initiative where hundreds of families were supplied with ingredients and recipe cards so that they could prepare, as a family, the meals they had enjoyed from local restaurants. Focusing on education and empowerment, the feedback from these have been wonderful.

"Our Christmas Appeals since 2019, have ensured that hundreds of children have been able to experience the real meaning of Christmas spirit. Over 2000 presents, hampers and festive treats have been enjoyed by local children thanks to the generosity of so many.

"But it’s not just Christmas! The two RE4orm Easter projects have also been hugely successful, with thousands of Easter treats being delivered across Torbay.

"None of this would have been possible without the love, tenacity and compassion of Team RE4orm, local businesses and our community’s generosity. The last two years have shown that Torbay cares about its neighbours.

"So now it’s time for our mobile community centre to get on the road, it’s been a long time coming but we are super excited to see where the next two years takes us."