We want to create a sense of community where people feel safe, understood and supported.

Since its launch in 2011, The Matthew Tree Project has created the unique ‘Rebuilding Lives’ programme and progressively expanded its service support provision in a well thought through, joined-up and highly effective way. The model has been granted registered trademark status by the Intellectual Property Office recognising its unique profile. ‘Rebuilding Lives’ is first and foremost built on a foundation of selfless compassion and non-judgemental care.

'Rebuilding Lives' is a collaborative multi-agency model, developed with key partners and from valuable feedback and involvement of the beneficiaries supported. It is funded by a 5-year Big Lottery Help Through Crisis (HTC) grant, supplemented by other grants, philanthropist and corporate donations and fund raising activities.

The aim of the ‘Rebuilding Lives’ model is to: ‘Improve the futures of people currently living in, or at risk of, crisis as a result of hardship; focused on building meaningful relationships and supporting people to overcome barriers to access of the services they need’.

‘Rebuilding Lives’ is set up to intervene early and stop people and families falling through the gaps in service provision. Our immediate concern is to ensure that people forced to make the horrific choices between eating and keeping warm or paying rent, do not go hungry - which has a devastating effect on someone’s mental and physical health. This is where, and how, our intervention begins.

However, underlying the emergency crisis, people have complex and multiple needs which can only be effectively met through understanding of the issues and empowering people to take appropriate actions; and this is achieved by building meaningful relationships, over time, coupled to a joined-up multi-agency collaborative approach.

‘Rebuilding Lives’ is highly effective at addressing the problem of an ever increasing number of people and families who are living with impossibly low unsustainable income levels.

Victims of this have a mixture of needs:

  • The need to feel safe and secure
  • The need to have improved health and well-being
  • The need to have support networks and feel connected
  • The need to have improved resilience
  • The need to have new or improved skills
  • The need to have hope and a purpose

At the point of referral, many beneficiaries are at high risk of homelessness and are in need of uniquely tailored help and support to prevent this from happening. ‘Rebuilding Lives’ has proven to be highly effective in this regard.

The ‘Rebuilding Lives’ model is delivered by way of a small team of qualified and skilled staff working through larger teams of dedicated, well trained and well supervised compassionate volunteers.

Each case is supported for as long as there is a need, currently 13 weeks on average across all cases, with a full ‘wrap-around’ range of support services from The Matthew Tree Project or via an extensive and growing strategic partner network.

These services include but are not restricted to:

  • Acceptance, inclusion and the time to build relationship and understanding of the causes, barriers and unique issues of every case
  • Client navigation to other support services required
  • Weekly supplies of fresh, chilled, frozen, ambient food for the whole family
  • Nutrition and dietary advice
  • One-2-One mentoring including practical and emotional support as needed
  • Skills training in specific issues, i.e. budgeting; ICT; home cooking; careers; food growing; food waste reduction
  • Advice in debt; housing; employment; addiction recovery; fuel poverty; mental health; family breakdown; abuse
  • Crisis grants for essential household items and emergency payments

The holistic nature of the ‘Rebuilding Lives’ model:

  • Recognises people as assets, equal partners in designing and delivering the services. Not as passive beneficiaries or burdens on the system
  • Builds on people’s capabilities to ultimately benefit their communities, themselves and those around them
  • Develops two-way reciprocal relationships on equal terms
  • Empowers people to build a happier, better and healthier future for themselves