During the last few months, and partly as a result of the stresses COVID-19 has created for those leaving prison, our work has increased dramatically. We have had amazing support from funders, notably both Sussex Community Foundation and Awards for All Community Fund, in the way we have been allowed to spend their grants. We are continuing our efforts to find emergency funding to enable us to provide further support during these challenging times.
The Henry Smith Charity Award
Long-term funding is so important to good planning and we are delighted to announce that we have been awarded three-year funding by The Henry Smith Charity to cover a part of our operating costs. This will enable us to continue to build an organisation with governance, infrastructure and standards appropriate to those we work with, particularly valuing the safety and security of our clients and team.
How are we performing?
We are a young organisation, having incorporated in October 2017, and we are keen to measure the impact we are having on our clients. We do this in two ways, along the lines recommended by the Community Chaplaincy Association:
First, we record whether we have been able to assist with the more practical aspects of their needs, e.g. accommodation, employment.
Second, we regularly assess, with our clients where possible, how they are improving in areas such as confidence, motivation and use of time.
To demonstrate the value we strive to add, we plan to show infographics from time to time to give a sense of how we are performing, which we hope will be of interest to those visiting this site. The picture below shows the average change in clients over the period of our involvement (ranging from a few weeks up to 12 months). We rate each aspect on a scale of 1-10 and have added a traffic-light background to indicate what the results represent (with the green zone, of course, representing where we would all like to be!):
Following the developments on the COVID 19 crisis, we are not currently able to see our clients face-to-face. However, mentors who are currently assigned a client in the community are continuing with indirect support (text/phone) only. For those of our clients pre-release, we are fortunate to have a close relationship with HMP Ford, which allows us to keep in touch with our clients and friends there, by way of email messages sent from our team and liaison with the chaplaincy.
We would like to thank our funders, and in particular Awards for All and Sussex Community Foundation, for continuing to support us in allowing their funding to be used in alternative ways, to meet the demands of these exceptional times.
West Sussex High Sheriff Fund at Sussex Community Foundation
We are delighted to report that we have received a grant award from the High Sheriff Fund. The High Sheriff has visited HMP Ford a number of times, including giving a talk to the men at one of the groups run from the chaplaincy. Thank you so much for this award, in recognition of the work we are doing with those leaving prison.
We are delighted to report that, having completed the first phase of our volunteer training programme, our first volunteer has been introduced to a client leaving HMP Ford to settle in West Sussex. Our volunteer Dave has met the client and will be providing support through the process of settling into a new community, helping to build relationships. The team has already helped this client find a job and a place to live. We are so grateful to our funders, without whose support we could not operate.
Sussex Community Foundation Award
November 2019 – We are delighted to have been awarded funds from the Sussex Community Foundation, enabling us to equip our volunteers and to provide support for people leaving prison.
Over the past quarter our Volunteer Coordinator has been training a group of men and women with a heart for helping those leaving prison, to get alongside men and women resettling in our area, befriending and mentoring them. These relationships are so important to the resettlement process and we are excited to now have opportunities to work with a greater number of clients as a result of this increase in our resources.
Community Fund Award
July 2019 – We are delighted to have been awarded funds from the National Lottery community Fund, enabling us to recruit and train a team of volunteers to provide resettlement support for people leaving prison.
Ford Forward wins £1,000 Movement for Good award
June 2019 – Ford Forward Community Chaplaincy has won a £1,000 Movement for Good award thanks to nominations from the public. The award will fund the recruitment and training of volunteer mentors and befrienders to engage with an increasing number of prisoners who are expressing the need for support as their release dates draw near.