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News 12 March 2020

The Forward Trust wins major new contract to deliver primary mental health and substance misuse services

The Forward Trust is delighted to announce that they have been awarded a major new contract to deliver primary mental health services and substance misuse services in prisons

The Forward Trust is delighted to announce that they have been awarded the contract to deliver primary mental health services in five prisons: HMP The Mount, HMP Chelmsford, HMP Highpoint, HMP Hollesley Bay and HMP Warren Hill, as well as substance misuse services in HMP The Mount. The contract will go live on the 1st of April 2020 and has been awarded by NHS England and NHS Improvement England.

At the same time, Forward have also been asked to provide the clinical part of the substance misuse service at HMP Chelmsford by CRG, the company who will be delivering the wider healthcare service at this prison.

Both contracts mark an exciting time of expansion for Forward, allowing us to support more people with a wider range of issues. We have known for many years that our service users often have multiple and complex needs and are excited to have the opportunity to build upon the work we have already done in these areas. This includes building on existing work, such as our IAPT (low-level mental health) service in HMP Chelmsford and substance misuse service in The Mount, both of which we are retaining and growing as part of this contract. It also allows us to expand existing support for other areas we are already providing in the remaining prisons – Highpoint, Warren Hill and Hollesley Bay – where we deliver information, advice and guidance on employment.  

The new contract will be supported by our specialist partners: Genius Within and Beating the Blues. Genius Within are experts at supporting neurodiverse adults – people who have dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, are on the autism spectrum, or have other neurological functions. Research shows that the neurodiverse community are disproportionately overrepresented in prison: 52% of prisoners have some form of neurodiversity, compared to 8%-10% of the wider working population1. Beating the Blues is an online programme of specialised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for individuals with mild to moderate depression.

Excitingly, the contract also includes a co-design element, which will incorporate the experiences and input of prison officers, health care providers, service providers and service users. Co-design is something Forward has considerable experience of, having been involved in several co-design projects in the past, notable our largest community substance misuse service in 2017 and a homeless service in 2018, both of which are in East Kent. 

Forward Trust CEO Mike Trace said:

Forward has for many years been providing low level mental health services in prisons as part of our substance misuse service provision. So we are delighted to have won these contracts – they will give us the opportunity to further test and refine our prison IAPT provision, and offer a better service to prisoners with co-occurring substance misuse and mental health needs.


1. Source: Genius Within,