Our team

Our Executive Team, Trustees and Patrons

Executive Team
Mike Trace Following a period of 12 years working on and managing projects that provided treatment to the homeless, drug users and offenders, Mike held the post of Deputy UK Anti-Drug Co-ordinator from 1997 until 2001. His duties included the creation of the UK’s first National Drug Strategy and the oversight of its initial implementation. From 2000 to 2003, he was the chair of the European Union drugs agency, the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). Here he steered a three-year work plan which involved the collation and dissemination of research and analysis on drug use, problems and responses across Europe. During 2001 to 2002, Mike also held the post of director of performance at the National Treatment Agency, set up by the UK government to oversee the rapid expansion of the drug treatment sector. In November 2002, he left to work for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna. Leaving his United Nations post in early 2003, Mike returned to the UK, and the non-governmental sector. After a year as chief executive of The Blenheim Project, a provider of community treatment services in London, he took up his current post as chief executive of RAPt in 2004. Mike continues to engage in policy issues as Co-ordinator of the International Drug Policy Forum, a global network of non-government organisations (NGOs) with an interest in the promotion of evidence-based drug policy. 
Kate Markey Divisional Director Employment Services
Kate Markey Kate is a big believer in social enterprise – businesses bringing solutions to social problems. She previously worked at the social enterprise support organisation CAN from 2005 – 2014. As Deputy Chief Executive, she looked after Policy, Research and Communications, including leading on CAN’s strategic partnership with the Cabinet Office to support the growth of social enterprise. More latterly, she launched and established CAN Invest, CAN’s social investment arm, managing and raising funds for social enterprises and helping them, corporates and other funds measure their social impact. Before CAN, Kate was an Executive Director of The Big Life Group in Manchester, a group of social enterprises and charities tackling disadvantage and social exclusion. There she was also Editor of The Big Issue in the North magazine for many years. During this time, the magazine campaigned heavily to give homeless people a voice and better rights, including changing legislation to give homeless people the right to vote and to open bank accounts. More recently Kate has worked with Social Enterprise UK the trade body for social enterprise, and also with the innovation charity Nesta and the charitable foundation Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to launch the UK’s first social investment fund providing loan financing to arts organisations. Earlier in her career Kate was a journalist with the media corporations Trinity Mirror Plc and Thomson Reuters, for the latter in South America. Kate has been a Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) since 2008. She is also a board member of VoiceAbility, the national advocacy charity, and a member of the Advisory Council of Big Society Capital, the wholesale social investment bank.


Divisional Director Employment Services
Carwyn Gravell Divisional Director Business Development
Carwyn Gravell Carwyn joined the Forward Trust (then Blue Sky) in 2014 as Head of Fundraising. He has since taken on a wider role as Forward's Divisional Director of Business Development. His areas of responsibility now include Business Development, Research, Communications and Fundraising. Carwyn was previously a partner at leading social research organisation Lemos&Crane and was instrumental in developing ground-breaking initiatives in the field of criminal justice including PrisonerActionNet and The Good Prison Award. He is a Philosophy graduate from Warwick University and a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.


Divisional Director Business Development
John Biggin OBE Chief Operating Officer
John Biggin OBE John Biggin is a highly experienced and versatile Operations Director with current and previous experience of managing in highly complex and high-profile environments.  Having over 31 years’ experience within the Criminal Justice sector and having worked in both the public and private sector delivering complex operations including directing Court operations across London and managing three challenging and complex prisons.  Most recently John led on transforming Community Payback on behalf of the London Community Rehabilitation Company. John brings extensive experience of providing strategic direction as well as full performance and P&L accountability of complex and challenging multi layered operations where leadership, excellent stakeholder management and a performance focus were key. This includes complex relationships with either directly commissioned or co-commissioned services where direct in-depth knowledge of delivery lay with the provider. John has extensive knowledge of the commissioning process and in the past, has operated as Contract Manager to large public sector operations.


Chief Operating Officer
Jason Moore Divisional Director of Substance Misuse Services
Jason Moore Jason joined the organisation in 2014 following a 21 year career with the National Offender Management Service (now HMPPS). As a senior operational manager he specialised in offender management, resettlement, healthcare and substance misuse services. During this time he worked closely with the NHS and local authorities in the commissioning of substance misuse services for both the community and custodial environment.  In August 2017 Jason became the Forward Trusts Divisional Director of Substance Misuse Services following 3½ years as the Head of Governance & Quality. This role provided him with a wealth of experience in dealing with regulators and inspectorates such as the Care Quality Commission, NHS Improvements, Information Commissioners Office and HM Inspector of Prisons. Jason is qualified with the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators in advanced health service governance. Over the years Jason has seen the good work that positive people and effective service provision can bring to those who need help and support. His aim as Director of Substance Misuse Services is to ensure that high levels of safety and quality are achieved across all of Forward’s services.


Divisional Director of Substance Misuse Services
Trustees
The Hon David Bernstein Chair
The Hon David Bernstein David has worked in the civil service, as a lawyer and is now on the boards of a small food importing company and a private investment company, both based in London. He sits on the boards of three other voluntary organisations, and of two grant-giving foundations. He is interested not only in penal affairs, but also alcohol and drug addiction more widely, human rights and refugee issues.


Chair
Lady Louise Gibbings Trustee
Lady Louise Gibbings Louise is one of the founding trustees of Forward and has been involved with the criminal justice system and the treatment of addiction for many years. She has worked for the national charity SOVA, served on the Board of Visitors at HMP Wandsworth for 15 years, and has been a trustee for the Wandsworth Prison Counselling Service and the Blenheim/Community Drug Project. At present she is a member of the Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Wayland and is also a trustee of the St Giles Trust. 


Trustee
Ben Houghton Trustee
Ben Houghton Ben is a former army officer and senior executive in the financial services sector. He was chairman of Disability Sport England for five years. His other current commitments include treasurer of Missing People, investment trustee of Haig Homes and chairman of a board of school governors.  


Trustee
The Hon Isabelle Laurent Trustee
The Hon Isabelle Laurent Isabelle has been committed to the tenets of Forward for over 25 years, and has been a trustee of Forward since its instigation in 1991. Isabelle is also member of the board (known as the Council) of King’s College, London.


Trustee
John Mason Trustee
John Mason John is a qualified counsellor and works as project coordinator of an aftercare service in Westminster. He has first-hand experience of the criminal justice system as a detainee, and is a graduate of the Forward's rehabilitation programme. He has worked in service delivery in a number of different rehabilitation and treatment contexts including the Drugs Intervention Programme and a rehabilitation programme for gamblers. John is also a trustee of a theatre company that works in prison with offenders and ex-offenders.


Trustee
Dame Benita Refson DBE Trustee
Dame Benita Refson DBE Benita is a founding Trustee of Place2Be and a qualified counsellor. After 19 years, Benita stepped down as CEO in 2014 and continues to support the organisation enthusiastically through her new role as President. Benita received an OBE for Services to Children and Families in 2007; was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of East London in 2009; received The Beacon Judges' Special Prize for Outstanding Philanthropic Achievement in 2010; and in 2014 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Institute of Education, University of London. Benita  was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Birthday 2016 Honours List in recognition of services to education, and has been a trustee of Forward since 2012.


Trustee
Ron Sheldon Trustee
Ron Sheldon Ron has over 35 years' private equity experience and recently retired as a Managing Director of Advent International, an international private equity firm, having worked for them for nearly 20 years. He also co-founded Trinity Venture Partners, a venture capital advisory firm and has held various investment roles at the 3i group.  Over the last several years, Ron has developed his interest in Social Enterprises and is a Board member and Trustee of Blue Sky Development & Regeneration. He is also a Director of Big Issue Fund Management and serves as chair of the Big Issue Invest Social Enterprise Investment Fund Investment Committee.  Ron is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.  


Trustee
MJG Taylor Trustee
MJG Taylor MJ is a UKCP-registered senior adult psychotherapist and clinical supervisor who for over 20 years has worked in the UK in charitable, NHS and private settings as well as academia.  The main area of emphasis in psychotherapeutic work involves socio-economically disadvantaged individuals, especially those in forensic settings. Coming to psychotherapy from a career in senior management in both the business and voluntary sectors in Europe, the United States and Latin America, MJ also serves currently as a trustee for several charities.


Trustee
John Wates OBE JP Trustee
John Wates OBE JP John has had a long interest in the criminal justice system and was a magistrate for 20 years. He chairs the Wates Foundation and is involved with numerous other charities. He has a keen interest in the recovery principle in mental health and addiction.


Trustee
Andrew Wylie Trustee
Andrew Wylie Andrew Wylie is the Head of Investment Funds at DLA Piper, a global law firm, and has been a partner in City law firms for over 10 years.  Andrew has a Master of Arts degree from the University of Cambridge. Andrew has given seminars at a number of leading international law schools and business schools about the global investment funds industry.  In Europe, these include the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, London Business School and INSEAD.  In the USA, these include Columbia Business School, Harvard Law School and Yale Law School. Since 2011 Andrew has been a trustee of Blue Sky, a charity which aims to break the cycle of re-offending by offering employment to ex-offenders through contracts with local authorities and private sector businesses.


Trustee
Patrons
Dame Judi Dench Patron
Dame Judi Dench “I am proud and honoured to be a patron of the Forward Trust whose professional team of counsellors and staff do so much to help and encourage men and women to recover from their alcohol or drug addiction. It is wonderful that so many of them then go on to lead positive, fulfilling and crime-free lives.” Dame Judi read for us at a carol concert fundraiser in 2007 and has been a supporter of our work ever since.  Photograph courtesy of Carolyn Djanogly.


Patron
The Hon. Emma Soames Patron
The Hon. Emma Soames “The Forward Trust performs a vital service in transforming the lives of individuals as well as lowering rates of recidivism within the British justice system. In grappling with addiction within prisons, it is taking the 12 Steps programme to those whose need for it is truly great. It is always a joy to see how it transforms the lives of those who have been on the Forward programmes and I am proud to be a patron.”  


Patron
Tony Adams MBE Patron
Tony Adams MBE We are very lucky to have former Arsenal and England footballer Tony Adams MBE as one of our patrons. “It is an honour to be a patron of the Forward Trust and to see at first hand the impact that Forward has had on the lives of so many men and women suffering from alcohol and drug addiction. Many recovering addicts have benefited from the care and support Forward offers and now make a positive contribution to society.” 


Patron
Sir Anthony Hopkins CBE Patron
Sir Anthony Hopkins CBE Sir Anthony Hopkins has been a patron of the Forward Trust since its early days and helped open our first intensive drug and alcohol rehabilitation unit at HMP Downview in 1992.


Patron
Roger Graef OBE Patron
Roger Graef OBE Roger Graef OBE is a patron of The Forward Trust. He has made films about addiction and prison services in the UK and overseas 


Patron
The Rt. Hon. the Lord Woolf of Barnes Patron
The Rt. Hon. the Lord Woolf of Barnes


Patron
Russell Brand Patron
Russell Brand Comedian and Actor Russell Brand has been a Patron since he made an appearance at a client re union. Since then he has worked closely with Forward, donating his Trew Era Cafe and launching our employment services in 2017. 


Patron