Ruth Branagh, the newly appointed Service Manager with extensive law credentials, tells us why she is excited to be working for Trevi, and what she hopes to achieve supporting our women
I’ve been a huge fan of Jasmine Mother’s Recovery Centre since I first moved to Plymouth in 2008. I was working for a local Solicitors, Wolferstans, and had set up a bro bono legal clinic for the residents of Trevi, offering legal support and advice for the women navigating the confusing court arena. Many of the residents were going through care proceedings and although some had their own solicitors, there were many who still had questions, required documents, and needed the court process explained to them. Coming to a Solicitors office can, for many, be very intimidating, so we needed a safe place they could feel comfortable.
It was such a privilege to be a very small part of the amazing work at the legal clinic, and I really felt that we were making a difference for many of the residents at Jasmine. Having been a family law practitioner for over 25 years, specialising in the last 15 years in care proceedings, I have seen first-hand the issues faced by women with addictions who are trying to deal with the pressures of court with a baby or young children. The stakes are so high, especially since many of the women have already lost multiple children in previous proceedings. Being given the opportunity by Trevi to live in such a unique residential unit with their baby, whilst detoxing and receiving such expert support, is life changing for so many- the 90% success rate upon discharge, speaks for itself.
Since having children of my own and working with so many parents over the years, I know how important it is to keep mother and child together, wherever possible. For many years I have wanted to set up a Mother and Baby placement centre of my own, as the need is so great, but I’ve always felt this was an unachievable dream. I’m therefore so thrilled and honoured to be in my current position as Service Manager, working with a dedicated, committed team of all female staff and inspiring senior leadership. Trevi has grown exponentially since I first started to visit all those years ago and it is so exciting to see where they have come from and the vision they have for the future.
I am particularly interested in the work done by the PAUSE initiative, especially since many women do go on to have multiple children that all become the subject of care proceedings. Started in 2019, PAUSE offers an intensive, relationship-based service for women who have had children removed from their care, with the aim of providing the opportunity to address some of their difficulties. Just breaking that cycle and taking time out to learn about yourself as a person- your triggers, past traumas, giving yourself time to recover- is so important. We all want to see better outcomes for children and PAUSE addresses this in a very practical way.
The project definitely has its challenges, and no two days are the same. However, to attend a graduation ceremony for a woman who has battled and succeeded in her detox, become stronger as a person, received insight into her trauma and life experiences and has formed such a deep bond with her baby, is the most amazing testament to her and the wonderful team around her. It’s why we do what we do.
Women are given a second chance here at Jasmine. They are respected, cared for and nurtured. Staff have a wealth of expertise dealing with the harsh realities of detoxing, fighting addiction and mental health and they support the women throughout this process. It’s not always successful but if the outcomes are not what they’d have wanted, at least they know they’ve tried, which is so important for healing and coming to terms later in life.
I’m only a few weeks into my role as Service Manager, so I’m really looking forward to learning so much more from the residents, staff and experts that provide this phenomenal care and support for our ladies and families right across the Trevi team.