Making a difference: Forward’s Social Impact Report 2020-21

The Forward Trust today is launching its annual Impact Report covering 2020/21, showcasing their 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 the ability to support clients in person, especially those in prison. This report highlights both the achievements of and challenges faced by Forward and those they support, as well as the new and innovative ways that staff and volunteers have found to deliver vital support.

Read the report

Forward 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.

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

Mike Trace, Chief Executive, The Forward Trust

The past year has also been one of exciting growth and diversification for Forward. In May 2021, they 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, a 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 the 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.

The Forward Trust are taking questions about the report at

Lessons from the Work Programme in the reform of rehabilitation services


In a response to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation paper, ‘Transforming Rehabilitation: A revolution in the way we manage offenders’, ERSA has highlighted the lessons that should be learned from the experience of providers of welfare to work services under payment by results contracts and examined the areas where integration with employment related services should be extended.

ERSA’s response suggested that the new service should be assessed based on an emphasis of quality over cost and highlighted the importance of allowing significant time for procurement in order to allow potential prime contractors and subcontractors to progress dialogue, access finance and form joint venture or consortia where necessary.

ERSA fully supports the government’s commitment to encouraging the involvement fn the voluntary sector. ERSA recommendations to facilitate this include ensuring that paperwork is minimised with a standard Expression of Interest (EOI) form and the adoption of the Merlin Standard to ensure fairness in supply chain relationships.

Response from ERSA to the Ministry of Justice Consultation ‘Transforming Rehabilitation: A revolution in the way we manage offenders’