The importance of Trevi at Christmas
Author Helen Metherell
I don’t enjoy Christmas… Just call me Ms Scrooge! I get heartily sick of Christmas songs on the radio and terrible Netflix Christmas movies. I’m too skint to afford all the presents and spending time with my family will invariably cause me stress and anxiety!
BUT, I do volunteer at Trevi, and since it’s my first Christmas here, I am off to chat with someone whose been described as one of Trevi’s ‘Christmas Elves’- Bex Sanders, a Women’s Worker here at Jasmine Mother’s Recovery centre. If you forget about the added stress of organising Christmas, there is at its core a good message, one of giving and togetherness. Although often it seems people’s actions fall short of this message, at Trevi, as I am about to discover, it doesn’t.
When a woman has reached a tough crossroads or crisis, Trevi’s compassionate team provide the treatment and strength to help her break free, giving her a fresh start in life. From rehab and health to housing and employment, Trevi help any woman in recovery move from “surviving” to “thriving”. Jasmine Mother’s Recovery, where Bex and I work, is focucesd upon helping women break their addiction to be the best possible mother. Trevi uses a trauma-informed therapeutic rehabilitation plan to help children stay with their mothers, transforming their futures. Both women and children are housed at Jasmine; it has space to house up to 12 women and their children at a time.
Although I am a Grinch, I can already see that Christmas is very important to the women staying here. A new mother celebrating their first Christmas with their newborn is always special, but unlike most new mothers, the women at Trevi may not have believed this was going to be possible. I shudder when I think of my family-related stress from Christmases past; however, I know this is nothing to the trauma the women staying at Jasmine will remember from their Christmas pasts, including triggers from abusive relationships, homelessness and addiction.
Bex tells me the main aim of all the staff at Christmas is to try and make this situation as normal as possible for the residents. It’s not normal, staying at Trevi, away from everything you know, and the Jasmine team want to make sure the residents don’t miss out on anything… A good reminder that in my life, I am lucky to take ‘normal’ for granted.
It’s Bex’s 6th Christmas working at Trevi, working, like many of the staff here, to make it a special one for the children and their mothers. In fact, she tells me her title is now ‘Mother Christmas’, bestowed upon her last year when she played Father Christmas in the grotto on-site at Trevi, a tradition continued this year as, due to Covid, any festive trips they try to take the children on are cancelled.
A typical Trevi Christmas would include some much-enjoyed and needed outings with the mothers and children to see Pennywell farm or Santa’s grotto. However, without the joy of these, the Trevi staff continue to do everything they can for the mothers and children who stay on-site at the residential. I’m impressed with how the team think of every detail to make Christmas magical.
The onsite nursery staff help the children make Christmas cards for their mums. Many different charities donate presents for the children, one being St Matthias, who collect, wrap, and bring over the presents for the children in advance. Each present has a personalised message – a thoughtful gesture to make their Christmas gifting extra meaningful. The team also find out if the mums are likely to be receiving any presents from their families and if they aren’t, help the children to wrap something small, so no one goes without, and everyone can find a present under the tree come Christmas morning.
There is one thing I like about Christmas, and that is the delicious food everywhere. The Trevi staff don’t let the residents down when it comes to the most important meal either – all the team work hard to plan an excellent meal with extra trimmings. Many give up their Christmas Eve and Day to make Christmas Dinner for all the children and their mothers. With Bex and many of the Trevi staff joining the residents for the meal, it sounds like a truly loving Christmas…
I confess, after chatting to Bex and the team, I am starting to feel my cold Christmas heart melt just a little. Especially since I know the difference Trevi can make- 98% of women who come to Jasmine Mother’s recovery successfully detox and almost 8 out of 10 children get to stay with their mother. However, our Trevi Christmas wouldn’t exist for the mothers and children without donations from the community. If you wish to help us this Christmas, you can donate here or contact us here. To find out more about Trevi’s work, and meet an inspiring woman who through Trevi, changed her life, view our Christmas video here.
From all the staff at Trevi- Merry Christmas!