Why support our Blossom Appeal?

As a fundraiser, my job is to generate awareness about the magic of Trevi and our wonderful women – women who have moved from surviving to thriving – our Sheroes and warriors. It’s important that, as a charity we engage excellently with our donors, funders and supporters and make them feel good about their generosity so that, ultimately, Trevi can do more to support women and children in need. I feel very honoured to act as this ‘conduit to happiness’ on both sides.

In August 2021, I saw my city in a different light. A dark light. That summer, I started volunteering on a new outreach programme, supporting women on the streets – many who were being sexually exploited. On my first night I felt apprehensive, as my frontline service skills are limited. Give me a funding application or corporate presentation any day but face-to-face service line – that’s for our specialist practitioners, isn’t it?! However, my highly experienced colleague, Tracey, assured me that we all had something to offer to the programme, including moi.

I will never forget my first night. As I accompanied my colleagues, we came across a woman collapsed on the pavement in need of help. Thank goodness we saw her, and were able to intervene. As I drove home later that night, I was left haunted by the thought of what might have happened if we had not been there…I wondered how many other women are there in our city who are vulnerable and exploited by men for money or drugs.

As a fundraiser and marketer, I felt completely out of my depth, but I learnt so much from my colleagues, many of whom were already working full time in their day jobs supporting women with complex needs. We had a wealth of wonderful skills on our volunteering team: a dental nurse, an NHS matron, sexual health workers, drug and alcohol workers – it was incredible. We were able to get women access to the services they needed when they needed them most; we brought them clothing, warm drinks, food and hygiene kits. But every night, all I kept hearing from my colleagues was about the lack of safe, women-only accommodation that they could refer women into.

That volunteering team has evolved over the past 2 years into a well-respected and life-changing programme known as Spark. Although I’ve now stepped down due to other commitments, volunteering on this programme gave me the understanding and even more drive to fundraise. It also gave us a meaty evidence base for our next appeal: Blossom Women’s House.

Our Blossom Appeal was launched in March this year. Our launch event was spectacular – held at The Box museum on a stage with a huge blossom tree. We heard speeches from our inspirational and award-winning CEO, Hannah Shead, and our superwoman chair, Gina Connelly. For me, the most heartwarming speeches came from beneficiaries – Helen an ex-resident and Charlotte, a grown-up child from 20 years ago. Charlotte told us how 20 years ago Trevi had empowered her mum to overcome her trauma, get clean and become the best mum she could be – how they remained together and were happy and how Charlotte is now winning at life. Powerful stuff.

Despite planning the launch event months in advance, I had to watch it all on Facebook Live due to catching Covid-19 a few days before. There I was in my bed with my laptop propped up in front of me, watching my boss, my team and Dawn French, tears rolling down my face with happiness as the pledges came rolling in. All £95,000 of them. Wow.

Since then, our Trevi tribe has been blown away by the wonderful donations we have received. We will be forever grateful to funders such as the Clothworkers Foundation, Livewell Foundation, Cayzer Trust, Benefact Trust, Sylvia Waddilove Foundation, Rank Foundation, Heydown Trust, Greenwood Place, individual donors, our Lord Mayor (2022-23) Councillor Sue Dann, groups such as the Lady Kingsmans, corporates such as Woolcombe Yonge, BD Diagnostics, University of Plymouth. Not to mention all the courageous women jumping out of planes or being strapped on top of them for sky dives and wing walks, the tenacious runners completing many 10km’s, half and full marathons, Trevi hair raisers –going pink or bald and so many more. You are loved!

As of today, we have reached £538,000, 87% of our overall target and we still have 6 months to go. We have some exciting events planned, including our Secret Gala dinner (I literally cannot contain the excitement about this one!), our Warrior Women Walk, a Christmas Crowdfunder and more.

We still have £79,000 to go, so please get in touch if you would like to be involved. We’ll give you all the love and support you need to make your fundraising a success. And you will get an invitation to the best celebration party next year, when we launch Blossom. You will not be disappointed.

My colleagues simply cannot wait for Blossom to be opened – they tell me that it will literally be full within a week. With the cost-of-living crisis and violence and exploitation of women on the rise, the need is greater than ever.

As I imagine the opening day of Blossom and the first woman stepping over the threshold to her new life, I can’t help wondering about the first woman I met on the streets. If only Blossom had been in place, we could have helped her access safe, women-only accommodation and given her a better chance at life.

Blossom will bring so much light into our city – the outreach team have broken the darkness with their love and light for women, already changing so many lives. With Blossom there is more hope. Let’s illuminate the way to a better life for women in our city. We will turn the darkness into light. Together.

t: 01752 255 758
e: office@trevi.org.uk

t: 01752 255 758
: office@trevi.org.uk