Our Work

'Rebuilding Lives' is the innovative, pioneering, holistic, collaborative, early intervention 'model of working' created by The Matthew Tree Project (TMTP) which provides a complete 'wrap-around' range of support and guidance services for those most at risk and hit by crisis - and who are living in our local communities. 

 

Clients are referred to 'The Matthew Tree Project Support Centres' by a wide and diverse range of officially appointed organisations (presently 90) which cover all the possible crisis situations imaginable. No-one, no group is excluded from access to, and support by The Matthew Tree Project. 

 

When asked, 'if The Matthew Tree Project didn't exist, who would you turn to for help?' 37.5% of clients surveyed said 'don't know' and 12.5% said 'no-one!' 

 

The 'rebuilding lives' model, delivered by a well-trained 'army' of volunteers (100+) has been developed progressively since 2011 with key partners and from valuable feedback and involvement of the clients we have supported. We aim to improve the overall client experience. 

 

TMTP wants to ensure clients move from crisis to independence in the best possible way. We believe our 'rebuilding lives' blueprint can be replicated in urban environments across the UK and Europe, to address poverty at its roots, on a significant scale. Our distinctive approach (not just for one or two elements, but in our holistic joined up methodology) functions purely for the benefit of the client.

 

Our work is delivered through 'Matthew Tree Project Support Centres' strategically located in the most deprived areas of the city. Each Centre is open one day a week, as listed on the 'contact us' page of this web site.

 

A key factor is that we provide the time needed/necessary to build trusting and open relationships with each client/family so that we can fully understand what has gone wrong, what barriers need to be overcome to make progress, and use this information (not easily given) to intervene early for maximum effect e.g. helping clients to avoid the need to have to tell their stories multiple times with different agencies – avoiding the pillar to post syndrome.

 

TMTP’s immediate aim is to ensure that people forced to make choices between eating and keeping warm or paying rent, do not go hungry.  We believe that if someone is struggling to pay the rent and keep a roof over their head, they will doubtless be going without food. This has a devastating effect on people and health (mental and physical) and can even adversely affect school performance of children. 67% of our clients with school age children report that since coming to The Matthew Tree Project, their children's school performance has improved. By providing weekly food supplies, in a dignified way, we are able to connect with people in crisis before it's too late and then work alongside each person/family to help them arrest the crisis and start to rebuild their lives. The citywide network of 'Matthew Tree Project Support Centres' in Bristol, each week provide a full weeks supply of healthy, nutritiously balanced food for the whole family for over 1000 people in crisis each year (nearly half of these are children), providing a range of ambient, fresh, chilled nutritious food individually selected by each client – according to their preferences/dietary needs. 

 

In 2016 'The Matthew Tree Project Support Centres' in Bristol gave out the equivalent of 213,636 nutritiously balanced meals to people and families in crisis, enabling people to eat, and eat well, who would otherwise go hungry.

  

All clients take part in a process cycle lasting six weeks. If successful, they will be better equipped to progress into independence from crisis. If not, they can re-do the process cycle until stability is reached.

 

During each weekly/visit to a 'Matthew Tree Project Support Centre', each client and their family receive a mix of the following support, varied according to individual need/s:


- Seven days of nutritious ambient, fresh, chilled food for the whole family aiding good nutrition and well- being

 

- Professional nutritional advice and support for those with diet related health issues

 

-      An interview and opportunity to explain their journey and its challenges

 

- Valuable 1:1 mentoring support provided by trained volunteers to help families navigate out of poverty whatever the original cause (domestic abuse, unemployment, benefit sanctions, risk of homelessness, statelessness, family break-up, debt, sickness, addiction, etc.); using a goal focused and accountable approach

 

- Support with specific issues e.g. budgeting, money management, nutrition, home cooking, ICT or employment through regular courses such as TMTP ‘Cook Smart, Eat Well’

 

- Effective strong ‘navigation’ referral mechanism between partner agencies (avoid ‘pillar to post’)

 

- Evaluation interview in week six to assess situation and further action required

 

- Add-on specialist external support from one or more of our strategic partners, listed below:

 

St Paul's Advice Centre (SPAC): professional advice services including welfare and debt advisers

 

Bristol Drugs Project (BDP): Alcohol and drug addiction support

 

Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE): Energy related support including home assessments to reduce energy costs

 

Bristol City Council Early Help: Early intervention support for at risk children

 

Assertive Contact and Engagement Service (ACE): Specialised support for people suffering from poor mental health

 

Personal Support Unit (PSU): Legal support for unrepresented people being required to appear in court  

 

St Monica Trust Community Fund: Funding for the purchase of essential household items

 

All volunteers and staff work hard through each cycle to unpack client stories, underlying causes, get to the real needs, and so set realistic goals. Our proudest achievements are seeing first-hand the difference made, for so many people, who are literally living on the very edge of society when they first come to us, and then come back to let us know how safe and secure they feel; comment on improved resilience, health and well-being.


The Matthew Tree Project is the registered charity no. 1146401.

Banquet Club & Meal Share for the over 55’s: St Monica Trust provided funding so we could carry  out
Banquet Club & Meal Share for the over 55’s: St Monica Trust provided funding so we could carry  out
Banquet Club & Meal Share for the over 55’s: St Monica Trust provided funding so we could carry  out research into the main drivers behind malnutrition in the elderly. Michelle Dron undertook the  research p