our stories

Graham’s story:

I first got to know the Ford Forward team in my last two years in prison.  The help they have given me has been immense, with the pastoral team always happy to chat.  I was released ten months ago and, with the support of the Ford Forward team, I have managed to create a support network upon release through which I have overcome homelessness and unemployment and recovered from addiction.

As well as experiencing some low periods, where I have needed those phone calls, texts and encouragement, the Ford Forward team have stayed in touch with me the whole time and were helpful in encouraging me and linking me with a local mentor and a church community.

Having a visit from Tony and Wendy last month was so great that it is only my duty that I should encourage the great work they do within HMP Ford and within the community.  I only wish that this kind of support could be something national and, knowing some of the effort of the Ford Forward team, it’ll only be a matter of time.

Keep going guys – you’re doing fantastic!

Thanks to the network around me, I have been able to secure accommodation, a church family, and a job!  Thanks for supporting me – may God continue to encourage and bless you all with understanding and wisdom!

Brian’s story:

Brian approached our team for support with resettlement whilst still in prison.  He is in need of housing, employment, and mental health support.  As Brian is looking to be released out of county, we have been liaising with a local agency on his behalf and their key worker has been to visit Brian in Ford to assess what help might be available for him.

Our team has continued to give Brian time and support through the prison chaplaincy.  Brian has said “Thank you for the help you are giving me.  It has reduced my anxiety.”

Michael’s story:

My name is Michael and I am now in my 70s.  I have spent nearly 50 of those years in detention or prison.  Ford Forward have supported me very well and I am now released on licence and have my own flat.  I have supported living and a care package.  It’s fantastic!!  I’ve got a lovely home for the first time in my life.

The Ford Forward team got alongside me during my last two years in prison and have helped me to get integrated into my church community.  They have spent time mentoring me to help me to learn new ways of relating and also how to handle money better.  This is very important to me.

Thank you very much!!!

Patrick’s story:

We are currently supporting Patrick as he awaits release from prison.  He has need of accommodation and employment on release.  Patrick also has the added difficulty of having no ID.

As his release area is out of county, we are liaising with a local agency.  Their key worker has met Patrick in Ford and a plan is coming together with practical steps to assist Patrick on release.

In the meantime, Ford Forward key workers meet with him every week:  Patrick has this regular opportunity to talk through his fears.  This is beneficial for Patrick, as it’s helping him to prepare for the challenges of re-joining community life.

Geoff’s story:

The benefits of post release support have been invaluable to me. It has helped me to settle into the community in such a positive frame of mind. I have been supported by dozens of people from the prison fellowship and people from my church over many years. On release, I had a church to go to and was introduced into the church by people that had been my support. Having no one to help you integrate into a new church and area can be a bit of a daunting experience, but the support of genuine Christion people, that have your best interests at heart, makes this transition much easier. I have had prayer support, financial help, hospitality, love, and kindness shown to me over the last 20 years. They, and God, have been the biggest reason I am still at large today. It has been a journey of fulfilment, and excitement.

Trevor’s story:

When I was in Ford, I was lucky to meet the volunteers who came in to see and speak to us inmates. When I was released on licence in early 2015, they met with me on a regular basis to have coffee and to discuss with me any problems and achievements. This was a great support which increased further once I started attending church with them on Sundays.

Since my release and the expiry of my sentence in October 2017, I have attended church with them and have completed Alpha & Beta courses, a Freedom in Christ course, and gone to two Westpoint conventions and Big Church Day Out events in West Sussex.

Support has been never ending and I have also met my girlfriend, who is Christian, on one of these courses. This Christmas we are getting engaged.

I can only give thanks to God and the church for the blessings I have been given.

Dave’s story:

Ford Forward Community Chaplaincy is currently supporting Dave and his family. Dave approached us for help, as his family was struggling to cope at home whilst he was in HMP Ford.

Because his young family were not coping well this put a lot of extra strain on Dave, who felt powerless to give them the support they clearly needed. Members of our team gave Dave the space to talk and the chaplaincy team was able to facilitate some extra phone calls home.

At the same time our key worker visited the family. We were also glad to provide a food parcel and a much needed outlet for Dave’s partner to talk. During two visits our team assessed the practical needs at home and networked with a local family centre, which provided practical help and support. This included food bank vouchers, visits, and friendship.

Back at the prison we worked with the Offender Management Unit to make them aware of the situation. This also enabled them to make more fully informed decisions regarding the ROTL (Release On Temporary Licence) process so that Dave could spend some regular times at home to support his family. We are happy to report that there has been real progress towards greater stability as a result.