Sussex Community Foundation
We are delighted to have been awarded funds from the Sussex Community Foundation, enabling us to have our Community Chaplain in place in HMP Ford for an extra day each week.
Sussex CF’s support is critical to our providing face-to-face support to those preparing to leave prison, at a time when many services are delivered remotely.
We are so grateful for the support that has been forthcoming from Sussex CF and our other funders, as well as our team of support workers and volunteers, that enables us to continue to deliver a virtually uninterrupted service during the COVID emergency.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner
We are delighted to see the following press release from the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, reinforcing the positive impact our team is having in response to the COVID-19 crisis:
PCC cash boost to help prisoners adjust back into the community
A free service in Sussex, dedicated to supporting those moving through the prison gates and back into the community, has received a funding boost from Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne.
Katy Bourne has awarded £4,000 to the Community Chaplaincy organisation, Ford Forward, from her Safer in Sussex Community Safety fund which was launched in 2013 for initiatives relating to crime reduction and community safety.
Ford Forward’s key workers include a Community Chaplain, a Volunteer Co-ordinator and a Trainer. They offer mentoring to those resettling locally upon release from prison, with the goal of contributing to reducing reoffending.
In the UK, 75% of ex-inmates reoffend within nine years of release and 39.3% within the first twelve months. Trustee Anthony Oehring believes that this can be attributed to the challenges that prisoners face in resettling and re-establishing personal, family and community connections, including linking with statutory services like social housing.
He says: “Voluntary services, like Ford Forward, compliment the range of statutory services available and mentoring helps prisoners gain self-confidence and self-esteem to reconnect and establish life in with the community – if this is successful then it reduces reoffending and reduces victims.”
Chaplain Andy Kerr added: “We are very grateful to receive some funding from the PCC. Everyone at FFCC works hard to support prisoners, alongside statutory partners, through the gate to resettle into their community in the best possible way. This funding will enable our valuable work to continue in and around Sussex, increasing desistance, and lowering levels of crime and its impact on victims and the wider society.”
Of the 39 clients Ford Forward have supported through to release, only one has reoffended and several serial and serious offenders have also been able to resettle successfully.
Simon was a prisoner in HMP Ford and has been in and out of prison a few times over the years. Ford Forward Chaplains helped him during his release in lockdown. They assigned him a personal volunteer mentor who got to know him in prison ahead of his release then worked with the prison resettlement teams and local charities to apply for housing for Simon and to secure him a job.
Simon has since settled back well into the community saying: “I have never been given so much support on release and you have done it all for me and believed in me and my future. Your charity is doing great work. I’m very grateful.”
During Covid lockdown and the introduction of the early release scheme, Ford Forward has seen an increase in referrals and with local prisoner support reducing during the pandemic PCC Bourne is keen to ensure that reoffending does not increase at this time.
Mrs Bourne said: “This is an especially challenging time for people who are leaving prison. Statutory services are not functioning as normal and, with their own support systems being virtually non-existent, they are feeling the pressures of isolation and so are more vulnerable to falling back into bad habits.
“I’m pleased to be able to fund the Ford Forward team who are working with prisoners during the pandemic to ensure that reoffending does not spike at this time.
“They are giving those who have served their time in prison the best possible chance of resettling back into the community and changing their behaviour for the better.”
To find out more about the Ford Forward team visit their website here: https://fordforward.org.uk/
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.