This month we entered into an exciting new phase of our journey as a project: we have got a new name - Essence!
We thought you might like to have some info about the journey we have been on; why the we’ve got a new name and what the name Essence means to us. So here we go…
Why is the name changing?
Up until last year, Reflex was run by the charity Youth for Christ as a national franchise project– partnering with churches and charities to deliver ‘Reflex’ in their local prisons through Chaplaincy departments across the country.
in 2012, Kahaila started delivering the Reflex franchise in women’s prisons in London as a way of having a positive social impact on our local community; something Kahaila is passionate about doing.
Kahaila (pronounced ka-hi-la, meaning ‘life in community’) is a church, café and charity based on Brick Lane and Aldgate, committed to having a positive social impact - especially to those who are marginalised in society.
Last year, Youth for Christ made some changes to re-centralise their prison work and scaled Reflex back to be a package of ‘Reflex Programmes’, which local partners are still able to purchase and deliver as independent projects.
What does this mean for the running of the Project?
What this means for us as a project is that we will still be delivering exactly the same services as we have been, with the same team and still as part of Kahaila. However we will just no longer be under the banner of the Reflex franchise. Instead, as of May this year, we are now called Essence.
We decided on this name in consultation with our team, our supporters and the women themselves. It is ultimately the women’s voices we wanted to be the loudest and so we went with the name that was most popular with them and that we also feels captures who we are and what we do. Essence is what they chose.
The word ‘Essence’ is poignant for us as a project due to the connection the word has with the idea of identity; the theme we decided was the most fundamental to who we are when we went through a rebranding process for our community services two years ago. (See previous blog ‘Offenders Redefined’)
‘THE INTRINSIC NATURE AND CORE QUALITY OF SOMETHING/SOMEONE, WHICH DETERMINES THEIR CHARACTER.’
‘THE ESSENCE OF SOMETHING IS ITS BASIC AND MOST IMPORTANT CHARACTERISTIC WHICH GIVES IT ITS INDIVIDUAL IDENTITY’
‘THE INWARD NATURE, TRUE SUBSTANCE OR CONSTITUTION OF ANYTHING…’
The word Essence captures the core of who we are. Through our work we aim to create a safe space for the women to be able to reflect on their own individual identity and story; to explore about who they are, who they want to be and how they want to move forward with the rest of their lives.
It has always been one of our core values as a project to treat each young woman as an individual, recognising that everyone is different and everyone is unique. We aim to celebrate the uniqueness of each individual we work with by making sure all our interventions are flexible and can be adapted to suit each person, helping them to flourish in their own way.
We are excited about moving forward as Essence and for the potential we have to grow and develop as a project. We remain committed to delivering our services and innovating new ways that we can support young women in prison and after their release back into the community.
We are really grateful to Youth for Christ and the previous Reflex national team for the support, guidance and resources they have given us since 2012 when we were part of their network. We owe them a great deal and have really enjoyed working alongside them.
We would like to take this opportunity to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you who have journeyed with us since we began just under 7 years ago. We are so grateful for our support network, it makes a huge difference. It is an honour to do this work and to be able to have a positive impact on our communities through supporting women in prison to make positive changes.
There’s a lot more still to come, so watch this space and if you’d like to hear more about how you can support us and the women we work with then please do get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org we’d love to hear from you!
“IF THE ESSENCE OF MY BEING HAS CAUSED A SMILE TO HAVE APPEARED UPON YOUR FACE OR A TOUCH OF JOY WITHIN YOUR HEART, THEN IN LIVING – I HAVE MADE MY MARK.”
- Thomas L. Odem, JR