The legal niceties on the merger between Forward Trust and Action on Addiction were completed on 1 May, on which date over 100 staff became employees of the Forward Trust, and the merged organisation took responsibility for all contracts and delivery for Clouds House, the SHARP day programmes in Essex and Liverpool, the M-PACT Family programme, and the CATS training service. All mergers cause some disruption, and the legal and HR procedures are complicated, but this has felt like a smooth process \u2013 with a clear shared mission and culture between the two organisations, and an excitement around what the future can bring. We aim, as an expanded Forward Trust (we are also mobilising around \u00a36m of new probation contracts at the same time), to be a strong and consistent voice in the sector \u2013 providing high quality services, but also campaigning to raise public and policy understanding of the causes of addiction and social exclusion, to tackle the stigma our clients face, and to improve the design of our responses. This latest step change in the scale and reach of our services underlines our core mission \u2013 learnt through decades of managing recovery programmes for people struggling with drug or alcohol dependence, but now applied to a wider range of client groups and situations (offenders, homeless, long-term unemployed, those struggling with mental health problems). We believe that anyone is capable of making transformational changes to the direction of their lives. With determination and support, our clients can break the cycle of addiction, offending and social marginalisation to build a positive and fulfilling life. We are clear on the shared beliefs that lie behind this mission: \u2022 That the root causes of most people\u2019s slide into addiction or criminal lifestyles are adverse experiences (neglect, abuse, trauma) in childhood or adolescence. Most of our clients have been dealt a poor hand in life. They may not always have made the right choices, but they deserve our support to change the script. \u2022 That most people want to change \u2013 they don\u2019t choose a life of desperation, conflict and marginalisation. But they have lost, or never had in the first place, the tools to get out of the negative cycles they find themselves in. \u2022 Consequently, instilling belief in our clients that a different path is possible, and that they are capable of following it, is a crucial component of recovery. The visible presence of role models with lived experience is therefore central to our service design. \u2022 Services funded by the taxpayer \u2013 as most of ours are \u2013 should be designed to maximise, and be measured by, their impact on bringing about these changes. It is important for organisations in the social care sector to have a clear set of beliefs, shared by everyone involved, that give us clarity on what we come in to work every day to achieve. I am proud that Forward Trust has this \u2018mission drive\u2019 and I would guess that similar motivations are driving most of the people working in this sector. But I am not sure that commissioners and providers spend enough time on ensuring that services are designed to represent these principles, and that we maximise the opportunities for personal development and recovery that exist in our clients. Join the team at Forward Trust. See their latest vacancies here. Whether people come to us for help with drugs, alcohol or other addictions \u2013 or practical help with employment, housing or prison releases \u2013 our approach is the same: how can the individual be helped to find their own strength, and the support of those around them, to become more than their past. We structure our services according to four stages Of course, it\u2019s rare for an individual to pass through these stages in a simple and linear process, but they are useful in giving staff and clients a framework for the progress we hope our clients can make: PAUSE \u2013 this refers to efforts to help clients rise above the pressures of often chaotic lives to stay safe, and find some stability to consider their options. ENGAGE \u2013 where clients are ready, we work hard to build their motivation to believe in change. DEVELOP \u2013 For those who have committed to turning their lives around, we offer a range of intensive programmes and pathways that focus on an individual\u2019s personal development. PROSPER \u2013 Where clients take the reward for their hard work, and pursue their interests with work, family and community \u2013 we try to continue helping them by creating peer-led recovery communities through our Forward Connect network.