The Matthew Tree Project
Over the last eight years TMTP has put buildings, people, systems, transport, funding, etc. on the ground to deliver “First Aid” in the form of SHARING food from its ‘food HUB’ with those in crisis, throughout the city of Bristol. Having established an EMOTIONAL connection through this oldest and primeval act of SHARING food (with those who need it the most), TMTP becomes a trusted friend with whom the client will commit to a wider programme of help which is cleverly designed to help and empower people to address the underlying causes of their particular crisis. The REAL outcome, then, is rebuilding the client’s INDEPENDENT life and providing a sense of ‘hope’ and ‘optimism’ of a happier, healthier and better future. The project has been built on a ‘relationship-biased, holistic, two-way reciprocal, person-centric’ foundation with the client at the very centre of the design and development of the range of support services provided. The overarching aim has always been to focus on uncovering and addressing the underlying causes of the crisis; and as such The Matthew Tree Project became the first in the UK to operate a full wrap-around multi-agency collaborative food ‘PLUS’ model, since 2012. Further to this, the project has been extended to include a social enterprise (RISE, formally known as FOODTURES) to fully realise the initial vision of the founder of The Matthew Tree Project: to fully integrate the front-line crisis support work with a range of locally, community based activities to include food growing; food cooking; food logistics; food processing and packaging; and food retailing – all targeted to bring [good] food to poorer food desert communities at affordable prices and which, as it is growing, will bring financial sustainability to The Matthew Tree Project and its core ‘Rebuilding Lives’ activities. This vision, to bring healthy and affordable food to the people who need it the most, and the initial foundation work put in place, and which is coming to fruition now, was first reported in the BBC1 Inside Out West programme aired on 26 November 2012, and was selected by Bristol City Council as the city’s entry into the 2014 inaugural European-wide BLOOMBERG Mayoral Challenge. 183 major European cities entered the competition, to win €5 million to implement their idea, and Bristol was selected as one of the 21 finalists.