The Forward Trust is a large London Based UK charity that provides support to people who have addictions and ex-offenders. The charity currently supports people across at least 22 prisons in the UK.

The Employment Services Division of the Forward Trust concentrates on providing employment support to those in custody and in the community. One of the projects within the Employment Service Division is Forward’s Enterprise Support services which has supported Entrepreneurs Unlocked’s Build Back Up Project with a matched funding of £5,000.

The Build Back Up Project, created by the founder of Entrepreneurs Unlocked, David Morgan, will aim to make a difference to 30 people, to help to stop prison leavers from reoffending, to provide a second chance to men and women with criminal histories and to fill a skills gap in the construction industry.

Tevfick Souleiman, the Social Enterprise Development Manager at Forward Trust, explains why the charity and his department, in particular, support the Build Back Up Project.

“Forward’s Employment Services division provides employment support to those in custody and in the community through careers guidance advisors, employment coaches and our Enterprise Coach and our whilst our target cohorts are those in recovery from addictions and ex-offenders, we also now support those  who have challenges or complex backgrounds and barriers including the long term unemployed, people with mental health issues,people with disabilities and people who have experienced homelessness.

“The Build Back Up Project is supporting prison leavers in self-employment and is helping them to find work in construction as sub-contractors.  Forward’s Enterprise Support project provides support to start up and budding Entrepreneurs and to charitable organisations who work with prison leavers and those who have experienced substance misuse, which is very much in line with what David Morgan’s social enterprise, Entrepreneurs Unlocked, is looking to achieve.”

Forward’s, Enterprise Support project launched their Crowd Funding Match Funding project in 2018 to match fund eligible Crowdfunding schemes, and the latest is the Build Back Up Project.

Of the Forward Trust’s support, David Morgan said: “The Forward Trust has really helped the momentum of our Crowdfunding campaign and we are at 81% of our target. But, with only 5 days to go, if we don’t hit our £10K target, we won’t be able to claim the money and help the 30 prison leavers into self-employment. I want to thank Tevfick and the Forward Trust for believing in us and supporting us with the £5K matched funding.

“We are calling out to individuals and businesses like The Forward Trust who believe in what we are trying to achieve and will join us in support of the Build Back Up Project.”

To other businesses and potential supporters, the Forward Trust’s Tevfick Souleiman said: “I would encourage others to get involved and donate to this project as I have lived experience of the criminal justice system, and am very passionate about the project as an ex-offender myself.

“I believe that there should be as many initiatives as possible to help those who have offending histories into employment and self-employment. The Build Back Up Project is contributing to the creation of employment, and its support of 30 self-employed subcontractors is aligned with the Forward Trust’s criteria and values.

“David’s project is one that I feel very passionate about and I want it to succeed.”

The Forward Trust and the Build Back Up Project provides opportunities and new beginnings for prison leavers. M’s story is just one of many success stories, thanks to this support..

Case Study – The Forward Enterprise Fund.

M was convicted of an offence and she was at rock bottom. In prison, she engaged with The Forward Trust ( then caled RAPT) lsubstance misuse recovery support and this was her first introduction to the charity.

Following this meeting, and with subsequent sessions and guidance, M created and launched her own employment support initiative for ex-offenders.

Upon leaving prison, M came back to the Forward Trust and became a beneficiary of the Forward Enterprise Fund loan to help her to grow her business for those with lived experience.

Last year, M hosted her inaugural keynote ceremony, where The Forward Trust CEO joined as a keynote speaker, and today M is looking to work on joint bids with the Forward Trust Business Development teams.

M was at rock bottom and was in custody, with addiction issues, when she sought support from the Forward Trust as a service-user, before becoming a beneficiary, to now potentially becoming a partner with the charity.

If you can support others like M, who may be leaving prison and looking for self-employed work in construction you can support The Build Back Up Project here: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/build-back-up—construction-for-prison-leavers#start