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The Journey September 2019

ISSUE 21

Introducing Forward Connect

news shares poetry artwork


WELCOME TO FORWARD CONNECT Thousands of people have turned their lives around with help from RAPt, Blue Sky, and Vision Housing, the three charities that came together to form The Forward Trust. The Journey Magazine has kept these people informed and entertained for years, and we have also kept in touch through reunions, open days, and other celebrations of recovery and rehabilitation. We now want to step up this level of energy, mutual aid and inspiration, by relaunching a new and improved nationwide recovery community – Forward Connect. This initiative will showcase the talents of people who have gone through their journey with us. It will also provide a platform for sharing information and supporting each other, as well as celebrating and promoting recovery. It’s easy to join – anyone who has been through one of our substance misuse treatment, housing, family, or employment programmes is automatically enrolled in the club! You will all receive The Journey magazine twice a year and other news and announcements in between.

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You can do as little or as much as you like to stay in touch and help others in the community: 1. Team up: stay in touch, receive or contribute to The Journey magazine and offer support or encouragement to other members of the community – either face-to-face at reunions and local events or online. 2. Help up: become a volunteer or mentor, inspiring others who are looking for a way out of their life of addiction and crime, e.g. by visiting prisons to deliver talks. 3. Speak up: celebrate recovery and rehabilitation by sharing your story, challenging public opinion and persuading those in positions of power that change is possible, that people can be more than their past.

We want you all to get involved in the Forward Connect community. If you are not sure your email address is included in our mailing list for future communications, send an email to forwardconnect@forwardtrust.org.uk If you want to get involved in any of the Forward Connect activities, send an email describing your areas of interest to forwardconnect@forwardtrust.org.uk

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HOW DID WE GET HERE RAPT 12-STEP PROGRAMMES Hundreds of people each year confront addiction by signing up to one of our RAPt intensive programmes – in prison, The Bridges or a Day Programme. Even starting these programmes is a big decision – we salute their bravery, recognise the hard work that goes in to completing a programme, and want to offer the support and recognition of our wider recovery community to show that there is a life beyond grafting, scoring and fixing. “I witnessed the effects of alcohol from a young age because my mother was an alcoholic. I was always scared of drinking and I never thought what I’d seen happen to others could happen to me. I thought when I first started drinking that I could control it and drink casually, but my drinking got worse as I tried to block things out, and by the time I was 30 I’d started using drugs. After I began using, I started breaking the law and ended up spending four years in prison. When I went to prison I lost everything and I knew something needed to change. So, when I heard about prisons offering the RAPt (now Forward) intensive 12-step programme I requested a transfer so I could take part. With the support of the counsellors and key workers, Forward helped me understand what had happened to me and taught me that recovery isn’t just about working on addiction, but about working on yourself. Forward taught me to be more spiritually available, and this didn’t have to be with religion, but just with a belief in something bigger than yourself. While I was in prison I became a peer support worker with Forward. Since leaving prison I’ve continued to work voluntarily to help other people going through the same thing. Forward supported me in my education and I now have an A-Level in Advice and Guidance. I also completed several other courses and I’m going to college to do a level three course in counselling funded by Forward. I’ve now been offered a 12-month paid Apprenticeship with Forward with amazing training and the chance for a permanent job after. I mean it when I say I owe Forward my life. Thanks to them I feel like I’m finally living, not just existing.”

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Sylvia Davies


HOW DID WE GET HERE RECOVERY COACHING Not everyone struggling to overcome a drug or alcohol problem can, or wants to, follow a 12-step programme. But hundreds of them get support and make great progress through the one to one support of a skilled counsellor, and access to mutual aid groups. But, just like graduates of structured group based programmes, they are determined to put their past life behind them, and to spend time with, and learn from, others doing the same. For me, alcohol and homelessness went hand in hand. I was in an abusive relationship which often caused me to drink, and when I left my partner and kids to try and escape it, I ended up homeless. Whilst I was homeless I would drink 24 hours a day. Someone from Jobcentre helped me off the streets by offering me accommodation. I wanted a fresh start when I moved into this flat, but I had ended up in another very violent relationship that made this difficult. I knew I wanted to get sober, so I started engaging with the Forward team in Sittingbourne Community Hub, and they were amazing. They helped me deal with the domestic violence issues and would keep me safe if I felt at risk. I didn’t want to use the mutual aid groups or 12-step programmes on offer as I had been diagnosed with PTSD, which meant I was incredibly anxious and scared to talk about things. So, I began my recovery journey through one-to-one sessions and counselling. The staff at Forward taught me to believe in myself, and they were right by my side the whole way. Now I have graduated from my sessions and I am in recovery I am able to attend the ROAR (reach out and recovery) groups. At ROAR it’s all about positivity, support, learning not to be hard on yourself and not giving up. I owe so many people at Forward my life, they have given me so much confidence and I am proud of how far I have come. Now I wake up excited, I feel like this is only the beginning of my life. I have so much to look forward to. Kay Gilham

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JOIN YOUR LOCAL ‘FORWARD CONNECT’ GROUP The easiest way to stay in touch with the Forward Connect network is to make sure your email is included on our list, so you receive The Journey, and all other news and updates. But we want you to get more involved – we are setting up local groups in areas of the country where there are lots of Forward Trust people. These local groups can organise their own social events, reunions and networks of support, so we need volunteers to get them up and running, and come up with ideas for activities. We have three local groups at the moment: KENT – The existing ROAR group is changing its name to Recovery Connect Kent, but already has an established network and membership. If you live in Kent and want to get involved, contact Michael Webster at Michael.webster@ forwardtrust.org.uk HULL/EAST RIDING – There is an existing vibrant group of people in recovery, and family members in Hull, that hold their own social events and reunions, and will now get support to grow in to a wider Recovery Connect Hull network. If you live in Hull or East Riding, and want to get involved, contact Dean Cussons at dean.cussons@forwardtrust.org.uk. LONDON – We have a loose network of people living in Kairos houses or Vision Housing, involved in the Haggerston Hub, working for Blue Sky, or volunteering at Head Office. We want to support them to grow in to a wider Recovery Connect London (that may need to be divided in to different groups for different parts of the city, as transport is so difficult). If you live in London and want to get involved, contact Aurin and Julie at Julie.muir@forwardtrust.org.uk. If you don’t live in any of these areas, and want to set up your own local group, we would love to hear from you. Email forwardconnect@forwardtrust.org.uk with your ideas, and we can see if we can help.

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SHARES

My History of Addiction and How The Forward Trust Has Helped

I was born in 1970 and raised by my grandparents one of which was a binge drinker. Being in foster care twice and having to fend for myself a lot, I found myself at the age of 14 shoplifting, selling speed and ecstasy to buy food and clothing. I had tried other drugs, temazepam, crack but it was the era of football violence and raves so speed, ecstasy and cocaine were the drugs of choice. Although I was making money working and selling drugs I wanted to get away from the gang violence and stop taking drugs. Without telling anyone I moved to London after a partner had 3 abortions without telling me. After failing to connect properly with my birth mother who was an alcoholic I moved out of her flat. After being clean of drugs for 5 years I returned to selling drugs. After being in several different jobs and relationships I found an excellent job and my soulmate who I lived and worked with for 8 years when she died of a sudden massive heart attack. My mother passed away and I inherited a large amount of money. I was depressed, unwell and

Mark Cullen

trying to hide it. I also jumped into a couple of relationships too early, one of which took advantage of me for money. My drug taking was bad, I had a heart attack and also tried to kill myself. After storing drugs for people in my flat I lost my flat and job and was homeless. I was trying to give up drugs but put in a b&b that drug dealers used. They tried to get me to sell drugs for them but I took their drugs and money and was going to kill myself but I got arrested and sent to prison. I was convicted of possession of crack and heroin and carrying a knife. I asked the judge to sentence me to a minimum of 3 months to enable the Forward Trust to continue helping me. I have been clean since coming to prison. I highly recommend the Mindfulness course, it has helped me. I am due for release soon and will be homeless. I am frightened the hard work done will be wasted. I wish to continue getting help from the Forward Trust after my release. I would love to go to The Bridges rehab in Hull and eventually volunteer or be an apprentice with the Forward Trust. I commend the hard work the Trust does and would like to thank a few people especially my drug worker Jade, also Katie, Chris, Healthcare Mark, Dave and Trevor. Thank you guys.

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Fancy Becoming A Forward Volunteer Mentor? Are you in recovery from addiction? Would you like to use your experience of recovery to support others with substance misuse issues? We believe that anyone is capable of lasting change. Our services have supported thousands of people to make positive changes and build productive lives with a job, family, friends and a sense of community. Key to early recovery is the understanding, advice and support from someone who has been through the same journey – this is why we have a growing and vibrant community of volunteer mentors who support our paid staff teams. We have a number of volunteering roles across the organisation – ranging from peer mentoring in prisons, meeting and greeting clients on the day of release, peer mentors in our housing and employment services, and roles across Forward Connect and at Head Office. As a volunteer for The Forward Trust, you will give us the benefit of your time and experience, and act as a role model for others following in your footsteps. In return, you will receive training and induction prior to being able to start in their role and will receive support throughout your placement. We also aim to help you use volunteering as a stepping stone into paid work in this sector. For more information, please contact randrinfo@forwardtrust.org.uk

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SHARES I am a Recovering Addict

It was in 2016 I was released from Rochester prison. I had just finished the RAPt 6 month 12 Step programme. It would soon be Christmas and a man called Ron from an organisation called the Forward Trust was coming to collect me. I had been in contact with Ron for quite a while, corresponding with letters, also with him coming into prison to visit me and seeing him at different meetings and graduations. Well, on the day of my release Ron picked me up from prison. I said goodbye to Kelly, a RAPt worker who helped me endlessly with many things from housing to drug counselling for which I will be forever grateful, also to many people in the prison, prison officers and chaplains all working together and the governor of the prison who all treated me with respect and kindness and helped me in many ways. Well as I was saying, Ron picked me up. On the day I was quite nervous about getting out but full of excitement in a way. The prison officer had told me to go to reception and get changed and also to collect my clothes and money. They was also meant to have had some ID for me which they didn’t so I returned to the prison and said I’m going back to my cell until it was sorted out but Ron was at the gate so I eventually thought better of it. Ron met me at the gate, it was a good thing to see him standing there and we jumped in the car. I had to sign on that day. I went in to try to sign on and luckily enough they let me even without my ID, after waiting for a long time trying to prove who I was. We then drove to the bank to sort my account but it had been closed and I had no ID to prove who I was. Things couldn’t get any worse but Ron cheered me up about it and we both laughed. Then we went to probation, a very rushed job.

Dirk Holding We then drove up to Hull. The Forward Trust had managed to arrange a few weeks in a rehabilitation centre. It was a great place, I had a great time there. It was an important part of my recovery over the Christmas period. We even got Christmas presents. It’s an all-male environment, it’s one of the best Christmases I’ve had. Twelve men all singing songs and enjoying each other’s company, all drug free and working the Steps. We laughed a lot and the food was great. The staff were great. If you want to recover you have to want recovery to do well. Everyone made me feel welcome. It’s a strict place but a great place to be and it worked for me. Everyone works hard on their 12 Step programme. I learnt a lot about friendship and am still in contact with my friend Elton. A lot. I always found asking for help is one of my biggest problems. That’s what your peers around you are for, to ask for help. It’s such an important part of recovery. I went to a lot of NA and AA meetings with everyone and met some amazing people from all walks of life. On the day I left I went back to London to the Forward Trust. A flat had been arranged for me by Kelly and Vision Housing. Lisa (Recovery Support Worker), a great person, stayed with me all day, brought me to the flat and stayed until the landlord came with the keys. We laughed a lot and she made me feel great and welcome. Since then they have found me work at Lords Cricket Ground. I trained there for 9 weeks and was offered work for the season and the next. Now I meet up with Ron regularly and he has helped me with many things. My probation is also a great supporter of the Forward Trust. I feel I have achieved so much and am very proud of the fact that I have stayed out of trouble and made lots of friends. It’s been a long road from prison to where I am now. I now also go into prisons and give talks on my life story and drug addiction. One day I hope to work in this area myself.

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HOW DID W RECOVERY AND It’s hard to keep focused on recovery when you have nowhere We have helped hundreds of people find the right place for them Housing finds sympathetic landlords to rent to our clients, and and practical support to tenants. Recovery Houses are shared committed to recovery, and to supporting their housemates – recovery houses in London, and similar facilities operated “I grew up in a home filled with alcohol, drugs and violence, so I started drinking when I was young by taking a bit of the alcohol lying around the house. I liked the feeling of drinking because it made me forget about everything going on. When I was older I couldn’t get a job, so I turned to dealing drugs and petty crime to fund my addiction and ended up going to prison. In prison I had a bad episode smoking spice and had to be taken to hospital where my heart temporarily stopped beating. When I woke up I didn’t remember anything, it was like the spice had made me into a different person. I realised that things had to change. I had spoken to counsellors while in prison and no one had ever really understood, but when I went to see someone from Forward they were so supportive. Forward finally got me to open up because they knew exactly the right things to say. I was sent to a rehab centre in Hull and I’ve now been clean for three years. When I was released from prison Forward’s Vision Housing found me somewhere to live near my mum who was in bad health. This meant that I could be near my mum in her final days and she could finally see me clean and healthy. The house supplied by Forward gave me a bit of my life back and having somewhere to live has given me the breathing space I needed to turn my life around. When I was in prison I saw people leave but soon come back, because they had nowhere to live they would end up reoffending. Having housing and support from Forward helped me stop this cycle and change my life.”

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Darren Bell


E GET HERE VISION HOUSING decent to live. on release from prison. Vision offers 6 month mentoring houses reserved for people this model works in the Kairos by Forward Trust in Kent and Hull. “I was born and raised in Scotland but moved to America because my husband was from there. We raised three beautiful daughters together, but things didn’t work out and we got divorced. After my divorce I ended up getting involved in a group of friends who were drug laundering, buying and selling Opioids, and before long I was caught up in this lifestyle too. In 2015 my house was raided by a SWAT team and I was charged with possession of illegal substances. I was placed on house arrest for five years, but when I missed one of my probation appointments I was sent to prison. My minimum term of 16 months turned into three years. I was released in 2018 and deported back to the UK. When I arrived in the UK I was greeted by a representative from Prisoners Abroad who helped me get back on my feet and introduced me to Forward’s Vision Housing. Vision Housing assured me they could find me somewhere to live and it felt like a weight had been lifted. Before I knew it, my Case Worker at Vision had found me a place to stay. Since then, Vision have continued to help me with any problems I might have, either by supporting me themselves or putting me in touch with an organisation that can. I never knew that help like this existed in the world – but I am so glad it does otherwise people like me would never get a second chance. I speak to my daughters and grandchildren every day and I can’t wait for them to visit me in my new home. Thank you Vision Housing for giving me the opportunity to make them proud of me once again.” Elizabeth Peters

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A R T W

I thought I’d write a small sentence on explaining how I deal with anxiety and stress.This drawing is for my son. When I’m sketching I forget all my worries and seem to bring this out with my drawing design. Drawing is where I meditate. Lee Francis

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W O R K

Painting has played a major role in my recovery. It helps me stay sane and safe, reinforce my self worth and connect to the world. Sebastian Cumpatescu To view more of Sebastian’s artwork, visit: https://cumpatescu.com

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N E WS AND U PDAT E S

The Power of Social Enterprises

Rosanne Chorlton Consumer consciousness is at an all-time high right now. If you’re unsure what I mean, take a look at the recent boycott on plastic straws - this environmental call to arms has been picked up by independent and global retailers alike, largely led by a response to consumers who want the businesses they patron to be ethically minded. One such business who takes their environmental footprint to heart is the Trew Era Cafe. Founded by Russell Brand in 2015, the cafe is now a social enterprise operating under the Forward Trust. As well as providing fantastic freshly cooked food and drink to locals and visitors alike, it also provides employment to ex-offenders and those in recovery from drug and alcohol misuse. Sustainability is a key word for soc ents, and one way to do this is to create partnerships with other organisations providing a similar role in the community. Trew Era works with Redemption Roasters to supply their coffee beans and the Dusty Knuckle bakery for their bread. Redemption Roasters train offenders in prison to roast the coffee beans and become baristas, so that they have the necessary skills to gain employment once released, while the Dusty Knuckle provides employment and training for young people who are at risk of offending through violence. By collaborating with other social enterprises, these businesses are showing that strength is through connectivity and support. The Forward Trust has been instrumental in supporting the Trew Era Cafe to make these connections, which has led many of the staff going on to do amazing things – from passing the bar and becoming a barrister, to producing their own music. One such employee, Michele, who completed a yearlong apprenticeship at the cafe, has recently gained a book deal from a reputable publisher, with her memoir being published next year. Very exciting! The impact of providing jobs to those in recovery often comes out in unexpected ways. On the surface, social enterprises offer tangible things such as a salary and qualifications, but in a much greater way, they allow for an open dialogue about difficulties previously encountered in life. As Michele says, ‘being able to tell people openly that I am in recovery, it was sort of built into the cafe, made me think that everyone who is important to me in my life right now knows where I’ve been and where I’ve come to, so if I go more public with it, it is OK’. The Trew Era Café is recruiting. If you are interested in working there, please contact Rose at rosanne.chorlton@forwardtrust.org.uk or 07799 413697. http://www.trewcafe.org.uk/

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N EW S AND U PDAT E S The Substance Dependency Day Programme at Dover Recovery Hub

Michael Webster

The Substance Dependency Programme is a rehabilitation programme based at the Dover hub which clients attend every day. It is an abstinence based programme that introduces the 12 step approach of recovery. Its purpose is to support service users maintain their recovery, build recovery capital and lead productive fulfilling lives. When I initially heard that a day programme was going to be implemented at the Dover service I was eager to be part of it, although slightly nervous as I have never delivered anything quite like this before. However with the support of Forward services the planning and implementation went smoothly. It was brilliant that all departments worked together, this ranged from the Recovery Support Team to all the Dover hub staff, we even had a staff member attend from Hull to support in the initial weeks which was a great help. I would especially like to mention the Dover staff as they all played a significant part in the successful implementation of the programme, whether directly or indirectly. I also feel that it was a period when new ways of working were discussed and implemented which brought a breath of fresh air to local services. I have also supported with delivering the programme since it has been running, it has also inspired me and my work, and I can honestly say that having the opportunity to spend a day supporting the programme and seeing clients share their assignments can be the highlight of my week. I have delivered many forms of group work in the past, but nothing like the day programme in Forward’s Dover service. I was amazed by the level of support the programme was offering clients, not just to stop their drug and alcohol use, but maintain their recovery and rebuild their lives, but also how clients would have the opportunity to give back to the service once they graduate from the programme, the programme was just the beginning of their journey, solid foundations to venture forward. The other great thing was that the programme was supporting the development of a recovery culture across the local community! We have already built strong links with several external agencies and fellowships to support groups which we continue to enhance our relationships with. I have been fortunate to witness how the programme has already started to support individuals make significant changes to their lives; clients that may have been in treatment for several years, individuals that have struggled to break the cycle of crime and addiction, but also those that may not have been suffering as long, the new programme offers a new way of life, which is universal, no matter who you are. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to be part of this project, and look forward to seeing it grow and develop.

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GRADITUDE

F O R WA R D T R U S T L O N D O N R E U N I O N 2 0 1 9

Main speakers | Live music | Open mic | Clean time countdown | Area shout out SATURDAY 19th OCTOBER 2019 AT Bloomsbury Baptist Church, 235 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8EP www.forwardtrust.org.uk For details: RandRinfo@forwardtrust.org.uk

10.30 am - Tea, coffee and catch up! 11.00 am - Main speakers 12.15 am - Video screening 12.30 am - Lunch 1.30 pm - Open mic, countdown & Free raffle 3.00 pm - Day ends

GETTING THERE Directions Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church is situated at the edge of Covent Garden, close to the junction of New Oxford Street and Shaftesbury Avenue. Tubes and buses The nearest underground stations are Tottenham Court Road (Northern line only), Holborn or Covent Garden (Piccadilly line). Leicester Square tube station is a five minute walk to the south. A number of bus services pass close by, along New Oxford Street.

*IMPORTANT NOTICE* Please note that photographs will be taken during the day. This is for Forward Trust to use in order to promote the work that we do. If you would NOT like Forward Trust to use your image, please write your name below and hand back to a member of Foward Trust staff. Thank you.

www.forwardtrust.org.uk

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F R E E TAT T O O R E M O VA L O P P O R T U N I T Y

Hello! We’re excited to announce that NAAMA has partnered with Forward Trust to offer f ree tattoo removal to members of the Forward Trust community.* HOW DO I APPLY?

ABOUT NAAMA

Email hello@naamaskin.com if you want to remove your tattoo for free. Make sure to mention you're part of the Forward Trust community.

We’ve developed a breakthrough technology for tattoo removal. It will only be available at NAAMA, our dedicated tattoo removal studio - coming soon! We’re passionate about celebrating change and empowering people with agency over their appearance.

Warmly,

The NAAMA team

*This offer is made subject to NAAMA For All's eligibility criteria, and availability .

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HOW DID W WORKING FOR

Many people in recovery want to use businesses – either as a sole trader or, people in recovery. We are helping own businesses –with advice, business “While growing up in Italy I had my first experience with alcohol at the age of eight. It gave me the courage I thought I lacked. But I didn’t want to end up an alcoholic like my Father, so I turned to drugs to find that feeling instead. I ended up getting in trouble a lot, so, at 16 I decided to join the army. But after two years of serving I was removed due to drug use. It wasn’t long before I was back to breaking into homes and stealing. I moved to England where I carried on stealing and dealing drugs, ending up spending most of my life in prison. My addiction continued in prison, until one day I found myself outside the door of the RAPt Programme, which helped people in prison who have problems with drugs and alcohol and I finally got sober for good. After my release from prison I attended NA meetings. But, I was 37 and had no skills or qualifications (other than selling drugs). Then something amazing happened – I was offered work cleaning tables three days a week. It wasn’t glamorous and I had to work hard – my sponsor said: “Be the first one in and the last to leave”. I quickly worked my way up and did four years with that company, giving 100%. Then I finally had the confidence to start my own company - called Cocoa Delight – which is still going strong. I try to employ former Forward clients and people in recovery whenever possible. When I was using, I was quite imaginative at making money. Today I use the same imagination legally. Cocoa Delight offers ‘fun food’ – chocolate fountains and popcorn and candy-floss machines.” Ilario

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E GET HERE YOURSELF

their new found skills and confidence to set up their own like Ilario, also giving training and job opportunities to other dozens of budding entrepreneurs to set up their support and in some cases, financial support and investment. “Chris De Banks’ passion for music throughout the mid 90’s led him to underage drinking on nights out until he was 18 and old enough to go to the pub every night instead. Chris always saw himself as creative but never felt destined to achieve. For Chris, believing this was easier than facing the truth that he was an alcoholic. By 2015 Chris decided he needed to get help, and so he checked into a treatment centre. However, he found himself back drinking 11 days after finishing the programme and began a seven month binge that nearly killed him. After intervention from a friend, Chris went back into treatment and from then on his life started again. After a lot of soul-searching, Chris’ recovery gave him self-acceptance and the ability to be honest with himself about who he was and what he wanted out of life. Addiction had given Chris a hollowed out version of life with no hope, willingness, or joy, and so he made a promise to himself from then on that life in recovery had to be better than anything he had done before. Once he could accept all his faults and imperfections he saw his recovery had given him the ability to say with absolute honesty that he is happy. The life he leads now is beyond his wildest dreams. Chris runs his own record label, We Are Not Saints, the UK’s first record label to support artists in recovery in reaching their full creative potential.” Chris De Banks

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Big Sister by Saffron Yeboah Simpson 29th coming up and a tear in my eye I’m going through something that don’t feel right I love you the most love to the sky I should be at home with mum But I’m sitting in a cell worrying about the day that made her unwell Sitting in this place tucked up in a shell You go through my mind every day And say the same line every time I wish you was here instead of this guy But I know you’re looking down on me and the fam from the sky Even though I’m stuck in the can You’re telling me to keep going And make them grands I found my talent in jail And I know you’re a fan My big sister she will always be Gang

P O E Poem for Recovery by Richard Weavers Forward to a place in time Where drugs and alcohol don’t define Forward to somewhere sweet Where I can just chill and not worry about my next tweet Forward to serenity Relaxing in a villa by the sea Forward is now Forward is here All my chaos was last year I took nine steps without fear The other three will guide me through this year When I get stuck I’m no longer alone I’ve got my man up there to get me in the zone Recovery is sweet Recovery is chill Feels like I took a serenity pill

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My Thoughts by Howa Ramadan Nobody fully understands this private hell Constant flashbacks of hospitals, prisons and police cells It’s like I’m tied in constant restraints Living life limited A picture I have to paint You’re constantly there inside my head Your voice speaking “just one more, it’s gonna be different” That’s what you’re preaching The fact still remains though It will be exactly the same It’s a love hate relationship we hold I love the confidence, blocks and highs But I hate the madness, drama, lows and painful cries

I’m dreading that relapse that causes hell My anxiety makes me overthink ten to the dozen My head’s all messed up with thoughts Classed to be a disorder You make me paranoid of people and places I judge people just by the looks on their faces My thoughts and feelings are maladaptive To your disorder I remain a captive One thing I can say is I’ll never break free You have me, only you have the key Let me go I don’t want part of this anymore Show me the light at the end of the tunnel and Through the next door

You captured me so young You casted your spell for the rest of my life

E M S Spice Dissected:

A Poem About Spice by James Hynd Spice is a cancer eating at our wing This stuff is lethal where do I begin This is now the 8th deadly sin It makes a happy person unable to grin I’d rather take a punch off Tyson to the chin You could end up with a metaphorical shotgun under your chin Pull the trigger your brain goes bang Honestly I thought I’d be alright, man So change the pace. Step back. Slow down. It’s a hundred times more deadly than crack or brown And it used to be legal to buy in your home town

Spontaneous Poison Instantly Cripples Everything

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HOW DID W

WORKING FOR THE

Hundreds of ex-offenders and people prison or outside, through our award services or social enterprises – Blue Sky experience are crucial to the spirit and having received help and support them their own changes. “I’d been using drugs and alcohol from the age of 12, a pattern of behaviour that slowly got worse until I ended up overdosing. Over that time I lost my friends, my family, my job and my home, and I lost myself. I knew I wanted to stop but I just didn’t know how, so I ended up going to my doctor, and then went into rehab for four and a half months. It saved my life. Since I have found recovery a new life has started for me and I finally found the version of myself I thought I had lost! I still found it hard to find a job, until I met a friend in recovery working at The Forward Trust. I applied for and was offered a 12 month paid apprenticeship for people in recovery at Forward’s head office, which included full training and mentoring. After my Apprenticeship ended, I got a permanent job with Forward, who have supported me in completing my NBQ in Business and Administration. I decided I wanted to continue my education and am now in my fourth year of studying for my BA with the Open University. Once I finish that I’m hoping to complete my Masters degree! Forward have given me the job I always dreamed of finding! Because of Forward everything is different. Not only do I have a stable job and home, but I have my dignity, self-respect, and I really feel like I am giving back to society. I am so proud of myself for getting clean and getting my life back to where I wanted it, but I am most proud of my amazing relationship with my family and my daughter!”

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Antonia McKnight


E GET HERE FORWARD TRUST

in recovery are working for us right now – as volunteers in winning apprenticeship scheme, or as paid employees in our Services, or the Trew Era Café. This army of people with lived culture of our organisation, and are truly ‘giving it back’ – selves, their insight and inspiration is helping others to make “It was easy to end up in trouble or get involved with alcohol and drugs when you were in foster care. Drugs were everywhere. When I was ten, I started mixing with the wrong kind of people in an environment where drinking and doing drugs was normal. When you’re in these situations you don’t see anything wrong with it, and it doesn’t seem illegal. I started getting involved with social services a lot and moved around in foster care, it felt like wherever I went trouble followed. The realisation things needed to change happened overnight when my son was born, he is what I am most proud of. But I still found it hard to find proper work after getting in trouble with the law, so I grabbed the first job I could, and pushed myself to go to college where I took different maintenance courses and learned new skills. I then found a job advertised by Blue Sky and I applied. I’ve now been working at Blue Sky for five months as a Grounds Maintenance Operative where I get subcontracted work for the council maintaining different grounds, like allotments and parks. When I first started working at Blue Sky I didn’t know much about it, but when it was explained to me I really liked the idea they have of helping other people in hard situations find work and stop reoffending. My life is amazing now! Before I always felt it was chaotic, but today things seem smooth and organised. The pressure of getting on your feet and finding a job can hit anyone, but it’s important to look for options and not get down in the dumps about it. If you come across a job with something like Blue Sky then take it!” Andrew Halfhide

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Why Not Work For Us? If you are an ex-offender looking for work, one option is to work for Blue Sky Services, Forward’s own trading company based in West London. All Blue Sky’s employees – including Steve the boss – are ex-offenders – creating working teams that support each other to get into good work habits, build skills and earn an honest living. Most of our work at the moment is in the grounds maintenance sector in West London, but we will be moving in to new areas, and types of work, in the coming months. We pay decent wages, and give you all the training you need on the job. If you don’t think you are ready for full-time paid work yet, we can offer trial job placements or work experience in the first instance. To enquire about current vacancies and opportunities, contact Steve Finn at:

steve.finn@blueskydevelopments.co.uk

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Help To Set Up Or Develop Your Own Business Did you know that Forward has a service dedicated to helping our clients work for themselves, or set up or expand businesses that employ other people from a recovery or ex-offender background? If you have a business idea, or have already started working for yourself, and want some business advice or access to enterprise investment, then we may be able to help. We might even be able to help you with a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for your business. For more established businesses, we have our own investment fund (The Forward Enterprise Fund) that can make business loans from as little as £10,000 to as much as £200,000. This service is open to all ex-offenders or people in recovery, or those planning to employ them. To receive a business loan, your company will need to have been trading for at least 6 months, and you will need to agree various terms – covering things like repayment of loans, company structure and asset locks. To find out more, go to https://www.forwardenterprise.org.uk/ or email Stephen Anderson at Stephen.anderson@forwardtrust.org.uk

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HOW DID WE GET HERE FAMILY TIES For many of our service users, the key to their recovery is in resetting their family relationships – reconciling with partners, kids or significant others. The Family Ties programme takes users through a structured process of workshops and one-toone sessions designed to bring understanding, reconciliation, and optimism for the future. Family members need the same support and camaraderie, so are an important part of the Forward Connect network. “I started drinking when I was about 14 to try and deal with my mental health issues and block out family problems. I drank because I wanted to act selfishly, I had no commitments or responsibilities to care about. From around 2011 I ended up being in and out of prison 16 or 17 times. Whenever I was in prison I was offered a detox programme to try and help my addiction, but it never worked. But, when I was offered treatment by Forward’s Renew substance misuse programme in Hull, I realised I needed to get sober for my kids and since then I have never looked back. Renew changed my life. As part of the treatment, Renew offered the Family Ties Programme. This helped me to learn about the boundaries between addiction and my family and made me realise how my addiction affects others. What I gave to Renew and the Family Ties programme I got back in support from the staff, and it really worked. It was so helpful having people talk to you about your addiction and mending your family when they have gone through it all themselves, they really understood. The Family Ties Programme helped me earn back love from my kids. Before I was in recovery Christmas was always about myself and how drunk I could get, but this year it’s all about my kids and what I can finally give them.”

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Katie Johnson


N E W S AND UPDAT E S News From Lewes – Man Up

Georgina Darcy

‘In November the family work service here at HMP Lewes ran a group-work programme over 3 days in partnership with Safe Ground. The group ‘Man Up’ is a deliberately provocative name and was designed to help men consider the pressures and expectations associated with being a ‘man’, many of which can worsen destructive actions and behaviours. The course also aspired to encourage the men to explore the ways in which the idea of masculinity can shape their individual identity. Using group discussion, games, role play and some written work the group learnt to challenge some of their attitudes around masculinity and discuss negative outcomes they may have experienced as result of wanting or needing to fulfil stereotypes and expectations. After six sessions, 5 men remained and all successfully graduated the programme after delivering an impressive performance presenting what they felt were the most significant parts of their journey over the 3 days. We welcomed fellow Forward Trust colleagues, the head of re-offending, head of family work Rebecca Mistry and even a trustee of Safe Ground itself to attend. Participants had a discussion with the audience afterwards and explained the course had enabled them to think differently about their identity as men as well as overcome confidence issues and boost self-esteem. Overall, the feedback we received from both clients and staff was extremely positive and we look forward to running round two of ‘Man Up’ in the near future. ‘ Georgina Darcy Family Worker 01273 785147 Ext 5153

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Keep your eyes peeled for the launch of our ‘More Than My Past’ campaign You may have heard that Forward Trust are launching the ‘More Than My Past’ campaign on 26th September to raise awareness of the potential for ex-offenders and people in recovery from addiction to turn their lives around. The campaign aims to challenge the stigma that prevents people with difficult pasts from reaching their full potential, and to inspire those who are working hard to break the cycle of addiction and crime. See for yourself the inspirational stories of people who are so much more than their past at www.morethanmypast.org.uk, join the conversation on social media and even share your own experience of being more than your past.

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Need Help With Accommodation? If you are an ex-prisoner, or in recovery from drug/alcohol addiction and need to find a better place to live, Forward may be able to help. Our Vision Housing scheme aims to help our clients find decent accommodation – including on the day of release from prison – and provides mentoring support to residents to help with practical and personal issues. There are two types of accommodation available: Recovery Houses – shared houses (3 or 4 people) for people in drug/alcohol recovery to live for up to 2 years in a supportive drug free environment. We can provide these houses in Hull or Kent, and in London refer clients to recovery houses run by the Kairos Community. Independent Flats – Vision Housing works with private landlords (currently mainly in London and Surrey) to make studios or 1-bed flats available to ex-offenders, helps to arrange the lease and provides mentoring support to residents. If you think either of these services will be useful to you, contact randrinfo@forwardtrust.org.uk

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For more information about the Forward Connect community visit forwardconnect@forwardtrust.org.uk

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The Journey magazine - Sept 2019  

The Journey magazine - Sept 2019  

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