TREVI HOUSE ASKS FOR HELP TO KEEP A MUM AND CHILD TOGETHER THIS CHRISTMAS

As many of us are busy making plans to enjoy Christmas festivities with our friends, loved ones and family, Trevi House, a leading local women’s charity in Plymouth, is urging people to support its Christmas campaign this year to help keep a mum and child together this Christmas.

The #TreviChristmas Campaign is asking for donations to support the vital work of Trevi House so that mums and children can stay together this Christmas and be given the chance to live a happy life together.

Every 16 minutes a child is taken into care in the UK. Only 1 in 10 is reunited with their mum[1]. A recent study[2] found that due to cuts in family support services, there has been a 35% increase in the number of children investigated before their fifth birthday to a rate of 1 in every 16 children in the UK (that’s 2 for every school class).  With so many children being taken into care, the situation is at breaking point, with experts predicting that by the year 2020 there will be a funding gap of £2 billion[3].

Passionate about supporting women in recovery, Trevi House is a charity aspiring to ensure every woman is given the opportunity to heal, grow and thrive.

Trevi’s rehabilitation facility is the only one of its kind in the UK – exclusively for mothers and children to stay together during treatment - and its rehabilitation programme has a striking success rate with 95% of women remaining substance free and almost 7 out of 10 children staying with their mums. 

In its 25th year, Trevi House has helped to change the lives of hundreds of women, children and their families over the years, including Jasmine. Now in her twenties, Jasmine features in the #TreviChristmas campaign video, appealing to supporters to make a donation to make a difference and help families like her.

“I am now the same age as my mum was when she went to Trevi and my life is completely different to hers,” Jasmine described earlier this year in a speech she gave at the Trevi House 25 Years Celebration Event. “I don’t have any addictive problems and I don’t have any children. Trevi turned mum’s life around.

“I understood at the time that things had been bad before but then getting to Trevi, everything was good. I now have a degree in media arts. Growing up would have been a lot worse if I didn’t have my mum around - I would not be as grounded and I would not have grown up with my younger brother.”

The use of drugs and alcohol is involved in two thirds of care applications1. Since many parents do not get access to the support they need to break their addiction, many children end up going into care. This can cost society hundreds of thousands of pounds. Research also shows that when children within child care services are isolated and disconnected from a stable and loving environment, they will struggle with behavioural and mental health issues[4]. In fact, sadly, many of the women who have an addiction and who have had a child removed were themselves in care as a child.

Ten or so years ago, most referrals to Trevi House came from social workers.  However, the charity is seeing a trend in more referrals coming from the courts. Taking referrals from across the UK, Trevi House can house up to 10 women and their children at any given time. Each mother follows a strict rehabilitation plan which includes daily counselling, relationship analysis, group therapy, medical examinations and check-ups from social services.  The average length of stay is 24 weeks. 

“We’d really like people to get behind our Christmas campaign this year, by making a donation, because we need support to help more children like Jasmine and her mum,” said Hannah Shead, Chief Executive Officer of Trevi House.Christmas is a time for families to be together. Just £10 could make a huge difference and help a child and their mum make special memories this Christmas.

“A typical scenario for us is that a baby is removed from its mum at just five days old – giving mum no opportunity to prove she can be a good mum. Mum then has to go to court within days of giving birth, to literally fight for their baby. 

“For mums who are lucky and get the chance to come to Trevi House, when they arrive, they are like ‘a rabbit in headlights’ because of the traumatic journey they have had to follow to get there. It can mean that there is a higher level of complex mental health issues to work on when they arrive.” 

Hannah continued: “Once settled with us at Trevi House, the mum works really hard to fight her addiction for good. She works to address the root cause of her trauma so that she can go forward in life and be the best mum she can be. 

“For mums that don’t get the chance or the funding, their baby is removed with no help for her to address the root cause of her addiction, which, in many cases, is linked to trauma such as domestic abuse.  Many mums will go onto have another child, often to heal their loss.  And so sadly, the cycle continues.”

Trevi House also operates an outreach centre, The Sunflower Women’s Centre.  The Sunflower Women’s Centre is a trauma-informed women’s wellbeing hub, providing opportunities for any woman who has support needs. Using a whole-system-approach, women receive support in addressing and resolving substance abuse, childhood trauma, criminogenic behaviours, domestic violence or poor mental health.  90% of women supported by the Sunflower centre say it has been a lifeline. One even said that without it, she’d be back in London and probably dead.

To support #TreviChristmas and help change the lives of more mums and their children, you can find out more and make a donation by visiting: http://trevihouse.org/get-involved/trevichristmas or calling 01752 255 758.


[1] https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/media/6437/Cafcass%20Care%20Application%20Study%202012%20FINAL.pdf (page 21)

[2] Adoption and child protection trends for children aged under five – Andrew Bilson (2018): http://bilson.org.uk/home/adoption-and-child-protection-trends-for-children-aged-under-five/