Introducing Re-Formed: Our New Passionist Partners Challenging Negative Images in Toxteth

17th July 2018

Kemi and Natasha Ryan talk about ‘authentic diversity’ in Toxteth, Liverpool, and their battle against prejudice.

We established Reformed development CIC in 2009, in an effort to challenge the lack of employment opportunity and discrimination we faced as two Black women with criminal records. Through our own experiences and with a dedicated determination, we put our shoulders to the wheel to create resources that would challenge negative images and encourage young people to resist others stereotyping them.  Therefore, we hoped we could prevent further criminal involvement and work out of our own personal experience of our need for rehabilitation to give people the confidence they need to take their own steps forward.

That has proved to be extremely successful in supporting and leading some of the most disadvantaged and stereotyped people we have worked with. We approach each person holistically – treating each as an individual – something often ignored in many professional responses – and totally necessary if we hope to work together for a transformation which turns the negative into a positive.

With our personal focus and knowledge of Toxteth – the neighbourhood in which we ourselves grew up – we remain ambitious for Reformed to promote programmes not only locally, but also within the remit of the wider ill-judged UK penal contexts.

As two Black women we find ourselves uniquely placed to promote initiatives that represent authentic diversity in contrast with more superficial “detached” professional interventions. We are privileged to be affirmed with a credibility that comes from our own people. We know what the young people are experiencing – and the terrible effects it has on their families and our local community.

To be offered help and support as a Passionist partner is a dream come true.  This is giving us added confidence in believing in ourselves and in witnessing to our community that we are not alone.  Your real and practical support will give to us, and to those we represent, the belief that we are not alone and that the Passionists and the Church supports working alongside those who find themselves marginalised at the edges.

To find out more about Re-Formed, see their website.