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Project information

The Bridges: Breaking the Cycle

To break the cycle of addiction and crime by providing ex-offenders with the intensive support and aftercare needed to recover from substance misuse and develop the skills, confidence and aspirations to build a positive, sustainable, crime-free future and move forward with their lives

January 2019 - December 2020

Charity information: The Forward Trust

The Forward Trust logo
  • Need


    Over 55% of prisoners in England and Wales commit offences due to drug use (Hansard, 2014), around 76% of substance misusing offenders re-offend within 12 months of release (MoJ, 2013) and the risk of a drug-related death is 7.5 times higher within the first 2 weeks of a prisoner’s release (E Merrall, 2010). This highlights the pressing need for effective, tailored, through-the-gate support for ex-offenders leaving prison who suffer from addiction so they can change their lives for the better.


    The Bridges is Forward’s Hull-based residential rehabilitation centre – the only one in the country especially designed for ex-offenders struggling with substance misuse issues. It provides up to 24 weeks of intensive support to ex-offenders to overcome their addiction, restore their family relationships and build a positive life. The treatment programme consists of a combination of workshops, group therapy and counselling sessions and signposting to other local services where necessary.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To help ex-offenders overcome addiction


    » Meet and greet ex-offenders at the prison gates upon their release to ensure they are brought safely to the Bridges
    » Provide ex-offenders with intensive, tailored support and aftercare including one-to-one and group workshops, therapy and counselling sessions
    » Encourage the provision of peer support between ex-offenders to develop recovery capital and sustain a fulfilling drug/alcohol-free life
    » Signpost ex-offenders to other local services (financial/legal issues, housing etc.) for support where necessary

    What success will look like

    50 ex-offenders accessing the Bridges with 40 (80%) completing their residential rehabilitation treatment

    Aim 2

    To contribute to a reduction in reoffending rates


    » Provide a tailored programme of support to identify and help overcome ex-offenders temptations to turn to crime
    » Encourage ex-offenders to think more positively about their future with regards to employment prospects to defer them from turning back to crime.
    » Encourage the provision of peer support between ex-offenders to develop recovery capital and sustain a fulfilling crime-free life
    » Provide tailored aftercare support to ex-offenders ensure that they are able to sustain recovery and stay away from crime

    What success will look like

    40 ex-offenders completing residential rehabilitation programme not reoffending within a year of release from prison

    Aim 3

    To help ex-offenders improve their education and discover a skill set that can lead to employment


    » Provide tailored one-to-one support to ex-offenders to address education and skills needs and signpost to other services where necessary
    » Provide a range of employability workshops including CV writing, completing job applications, interview skills and IT skills
    » Raise awareness of, provide access to and support with securing a Forward apprenticeship (as part of the wider Forward apprenticeship scheme)

    What success will look like

    40 ex-offenders leave the Bridges with prospects of pursuing further education, volunteering or entering employment

    Aim 4

    To support ex-offenders to restore and repair broken relationships with loved ones


    » Provide ex-offenders with one-to-one and group support to better understand the impact of their addiction on their loved ones
    » Provide the loved ones of ex-offenders with a range of family support interventions through the ReNew independent family service
    » Educate the loved ones of ex-offenders about the causes of addiction and ways in which they can support treatment and recovery
    » Act as an intermediary, where needed, to help resolve issues in relationships between ex-offenders and their loved ones and move forward positively

    What success will look like

    40 ex-offenders leave the Bridges with a support network to help them maintain their recovery

    Aim 5

    To help ex-offenders find secure and stable accommodation after leaving The Bridges


    » Provide a range of one-to-one and group interventions focused on life skills (such as budget management, healthy living etc.)
    » Signpost ex-offenders to appropriate services (e.g. money management, housing etc.) where necessary
    » Support clients in understanding and accessing benefits available to them to ensure financial stability

    What success will look like

    40 of ex-offenders leave the Bridges and move secure and safe accommodation, independently or with their families

  • Impact


    The Bridges helps ex-offenders develop an increased sense of emotional awareness, self-worth and confidence, with the ability to manage their problems with clarity and live a healthier life, free from drugs and alcohol. We will demonstrate success by tracking the difference we have made in ex-offenders’ lives throughout their time at the centre, monitoring their emotional development, relationships improved/built with loved ones and their future employment prospects and outlook on life


    1) Failure to secure sufficient referrals to the Bridges: we will promote awareness of The Bridges locally and nationally both in prisons and the community to offenders and service providers alike to ensure high referral rates.
    2) Ex-offenders not completing their treatment programme at the Bridges: we will ensure that the programme of support offered is tailored to individual needs as much as possible so as to ensure that ex-offenders remain engaged and motivated to sustain their recovery.


    We will maintain regular quarterly contact with all donors, where they have consented to this, to inform them of progress against our outcomes and will invite donors to visit the Bridges so they can meet first hand some of the ex-offenders that their support is enabling us to help.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £177,126

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £120,581 Staff costs Staff costs
      £7,861 Client costs (food, laundry, support etc.)
      £2,822 Running costs (telephone, printing etc.)
      £4,123 Publicity and marketing (materials, advertisement etc)
      £35,763 Overhead costs (rent, electricity, water etc.)
      £5,976 Insurance costs (content insurance, client insurance etc)

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Events income £25,602 Guaranteed
    Trusts and Foundations £86,000 Guaranteed
    Individual Giving £1,308 Guaranteed
  • Background


    In 2013 Hull was announced the winner of City of Culture 2017. The award is given every four years to a city that demonstrates the belief in the transformational power of Culture. With multi-million pound investments revitalising Hull, the city aims to be a place of opportunity for all, designed purely to build strong and resilient communities - a place where our clients can resettle benefiting from help, advice and security to start a better life, free from drugs, alcohol and crime.


    It will directly benefit people addicted to drugs and alcohol who have committed crime in order to fund their addiction by giving them the opportunity to overcome their addiction and build a more positive future. It will indirectly benefit their families who experience the negative impact of addiction and the wider community.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Since opening in 2004, The Bridges has supported over 450 ex-offenders towards recovery from substance misuse and 95% of our completers have moved onto independent accommodation. Since 2014 more than 70% of our clients have completed their treatment process and a follow up study in 2013 showed that 76% of those completing the programme had not reoffended in 12 months post-rehab. Our collaborative approach empowers ex-offenders to make transformational change towards lifelong recovery.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Douglas Dunsmore-Dawson

    Regional Manager: overseeing the management of the Bridges, as well as our delivery of related services in the North

    Phil Hindle

    Service Manager: providing strategic/operational support for the Bridges and instrumental in developing our pioneering treatment services in Hull

    Craig Dexter

    Deputy Service Manager: the first client to complete the Bridges treatment programme in 2004 and now oversees its delivery

    Terry Marshall

    Support Counsellor: developing and delivering interpersonal group therapy sessions at the Bridges