The Forward Trust today is launching its annual Impact Report covering 2020/21, showcasing our work to help people break the cycles of crime and addiction.
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns of the past 18 months have had a significant impact on our ability to support clients in person, especially those in prison. This report highlights both the achievements of and challenges faced by Forward and those we support, as well as the new and innovative ways our staff and volunteers have found to deliver vital support.
We are proud to have reached:
- 7333 people in 17 prisons with drug and alcohol support
- 3000 people with addiction support in the community
- 382 people across 5 prisons with mental health support
- 238 housing clients towards secure and stable housing, supporting 79 clients into a Vision Housing tenancy
- 1548 clients in 11 prisons with employment support
- 250 people with support to develop their own enterprise
- Families with support across 11 prisons
- 2,382 people through our Reach Out online chat service
- 177 women with a specialist violence reduction support
At Forward, as with many organisations, we have been severely restricted in what we have been able to deliver over the last year. The vast majority of our clients (both in prison and the community) have not been able to access ‘in-person’ one-to-one support from our staff, nor our intensive ‘Develop’ programmes that support people to achieve transformational change. This lack of access has been acutely felt, in particular by people who are in recovery from drug, alcohol or gambling addiction, comprising approximately 90% of our service users.Mike Trace, Chief Executive, The Forward Trust
However, these challenges brought by the pandemic have also resulted in innovation and new ways of working that we will apply in the post-pandemic world
The past year has also been one of exciting growth and diversification for Forward. In May 2021, we merged with Action on Addiction, creating a unique force for recovery from addiction, and the potential for service growth and increased reach as well as a stronger voice for people to speak out and seek the help they need to overcome addiction.
Forward has continued to influence through More Than My Past, our campaign that challenges stigma around addiction and people with offending histories and promotes the message that recovery and transformational change is possible. The launch of our Taking Action on Addiction campaign during Addiction Awareness Week in October affirms Forward’s commitment to reframe existing perceptions of addiction and build awareness of the causes and nature of it that improves understanding, reduces prejudice and enables more people to ask for and receive help.
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