Contract to help vulnerable Plymouth mums awarded

Plymouth mothers caught in a cycle of care proceedings are to get tailored support under a project to be run by Trevi House, a Plymouth women’s charity.

Plymouth City Council has agreed to award a contract to run the Pause programme in the city, programme which works with women who have experienced, or are at risk of, repeat removals of children from their care.

The project will be delivered via the Sunflower Women’s Centre, an outreach project delivered by Trevi House, which supports women to continue their recovery.

Pause aims to try and prevent the damaging consequences of thousands of children being taken into care each year nationally, through working with women who have experienced, or are at risk of, repeated pregnancies that result in children being removed from their care. 11,000 mothers in the UK had more than one child removed between 2007 and 2014, while national research highlights that 29 per cent of all care applications (measured over even  years) were linked to women who had already had at least one child removed into care.

Plymouth mirrors this national research, and the Pause contract will make a vital contribution towards reducing the numbers of children brought into care in the city. This contract will enable up to 48 women to receive intensive support aimed at giving them the opportunity and support they need to ‘pause’, take control of their lives and set in place strong foundations to move forward to a more positive future.

Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Sue McDonald, said: “This project is about helping women living in really difficult circumstances, whose children are taken into care because they are unable to cope. Pause aims to look at the reasons behind this; it is often to do with experiencing a traumatic childhood themselves and then abusive relationships as adults, low self-esteem, or using drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.”

“Pause aims to encourage women to stop, step out of the chaotic cycle they are in, develop more positive relationships and rebuild their lives. It is intensive work and includes practical and therapeutic support tailored to the women’s individual needs. The programme supports the women’s physical and mental health needs, as well as creating opportunities for them to become involved with education, training, volunteering or employment.”

Pause Plymouth will be delivered by Trevi House, working in collaboration with Plymouth City Council and supported by national charity Pause. It has been structured as a ‘social outcomes contract’, with the Council committing to pay for successful outcomes. Up-front funding and ongoing support is being arranged by Bridges Fund Management, a specialist impact investor with extensive experience of delivering outcomes contracts.

The outcome payments may be part-funded via the Life Chances Fund, which was launched by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to help people facing the most significant barriers in society to lead happy and productive lives. The final decision on the grant bid is expected in the next couple of weeks.

Trevi House’s CEO, Hannah Shead, added: “I am really pleased to see Pause come to Plymouth to support women to recover from the trauma of having children removed, to move on as women and as mothers.  The Trevi management team will now work hard to ensure that we recruit the best possible candidates to fill the Pause project roles so that we can begin to work with the women who need this life-changing service most.”

Jules Hillier, Chief Executive of Pause said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Trevi House and Plymouth City Council to bring Pause to Plymouth. Trevi House understands the approach that makes Pause so effective for women who are caught in a cycle of repeat pregnancies and removals. By combining our experience and expertise, we hope many women in Plymouth will be supported to create the space to make changes in their lives.”

Pause Plymouth will start working with women from April 2019. Opportunities to be part of the Pause Plymouth team will be advertised on the Trevi House website from this week. Go to and click on ‘get involved’.