Children’s Commissioner for England visits Trevi

Dame Rachel de Souza, Children’s Commissioner for England, recently visited Trevi – the Southwest leading children’s and women’s charity. This was a vital opportunity for Trevi to show the difference its trauma informed child centric services make to children’s and women’s lives.

During the visit, Dame Rachel was given a tour of two of Trevi’s three facilities – Jasmine Mother’s Recovery and the Sunflower Women’s Centre.

Jasmine Mother’s Recovery is a residential rehabilitation facility exclusively for mothers and their children. Since it opened in 1993, it has saved hundreds of women’s and children’s lives. Up to 12 women and their children can reside at the centre at any given time, with the average length of stay being 24 weeks. Each mother is supported to successfully detox and to go forward to be the best mother she can be. Results show that the trauma informed therapeutic programme enables almost 8 out of 10 children to stay with their mother.

Trevi’s Sunflower Women’s Centre operates five days a week in the community, providing wrap-around support for any woman in recovery. This includes recovery from substance misuse, domestic abuse, sexual violence, childhood trauma, mental ill health and criminogenic behaviours.

Dame Rachel’s tour began in the recovery lodge at Jasmine, where the women’s therapeutic group work takes place daily. She was joined by two current residents who told her just how hard it was to obtain funding to be able to access Jasmine. One resident explained how she had self-funded her rehabilitation for 12 weeks and now how her parents have funded an extra four weeks. She said she simply didn’t know what she would have done if she had not obtained a place.

Dame Rachel was then able to visit Trevi’s Ofsted registered nursery where a baby sensory group was taking place. The nursey has recently been refurbished with a new sensory room. The room was full of mothers laughing and singing with their children.

Nursery Manager, Carol Cornall, explained how some of the women arrive having had little parenting themselves: ‘They have no blueprint to follow and so a lot of the work our Specialist Attachment Practitioners carry out is focused on modelling good parenting, giving mothers the confidence to then go forward and be the best she can be.’

The visit ended with a tour around the three floor Sunflower Centre, encompassing the 140m2 health and wellbeing suite, trauma informed creche and contact centre.

Dame Rachel met another Trevi beneficiary during her tour called Sam. Sam is an ex-resident of Jasmine Mother’s Recovery who is now, since exiting Jasmine’s residential rehab, accessing support from the Sunflower Women’s Centre.

Sam explained: ‘Jasmine changed my life. I now have my son with me, and I am being supported through the Sunflower Women’s Centre to continue to move forward in life. Both the women who left Jasmine at the same time as me, went back to their homes, but they are finding it difficult in their hometowns as they are not getting any support like I receive in Plymouth.’

Hannah Shead, CEO, explained: ‘Being a mum is hard enough, but imagine having to go through the courts to fight to keep your child, then entering detox and recovery all whilst you feel your child might be taken. The women I meet through our services have to have real tenacity and courage. I take my hat off to any of them. It was a real privilege to meet Dame Rachel de Souza and to showcase our innovative services to her.’

Dame Rachel de Souza, Children’s Commissioner stated: ‘I was really pleased to visit Trevi last week. I was touched by the determination of the mothers I met to address their own challenges for the sake of their children; and by the compassion and determination of the women working to help them. It was great to see first-hand the benefit of a range of women’s services supporting mums in very challenging circumstances.’

For more information on any of Trevi’s services, please contact or call 01752 255758.

t: 01752 255 758

t: 01752 255 758