Thoughts, stories and events to share

More Than My Past

Sophie O'Sullivan, about 2 years ago

More than My Past, run by the Forward Trust, is a national campaign. It places a spotlight on inspirational stories from people who have overcome offending and addiction.

Since September 2019, the campaign has gone from strength to strength, celebrating the potential for people from all walks of life to turn their lives around for the better.

There are currently over 30 eye-opening stories on the site. Anyone who shares their story on the More Than My Past website is known as an Ambassador.

Ambassador Ilario Guiducci experienced addiction and spent time in prison. After connecting with The Forward Trust inside, he has gone from strength to strength. On release, he got a job cleaning tables for an events company. In 2000, he went onto found a successful London-based catering company Cocoa Delight. All of his employees are either ex-offenders or people in recovery.

I was able to transfer those skills that made me a good criminal – such as decision-making – and use it for the greater good by opening a company and giving people with difficult pasts another chance to work hard and find fulfilment.

-Ilario Guiducci, More than My Past Ambassador

This year, More than My Past launched a podcast hosted by film star Jason Flemyng. Each episode features interviews from high-profile former prisoners and recovered addicts. It looks at their individual journeys and how they have gone onto excel in their personal and professional lives.

One episode follows author and motivational speaker Lennox Rodgers. Lennox experienced abuse, criminality and drugs in his youth. He has since gone onto co-found an early years intervention charity Refocus Project where 80% of programme participants have made positive changes in their lives. Lennox has recently been nominated for a Diversity Award for 'Positive Role Model'.

You will get knocked down. You will be disappointed. But it's about how you choose to get up.

-Lennox Rodgers, More than My Past Ambassador

A report by The Forward Trust found that 75% of people in recovery and ex-offenders felt that they would be turned down for jobs for disclosing their past.

From an employer's perspective, it is so important to break away from negative stereotypes and invest in the skills and value that this talent pool offers. Many innovative companies have successfully recruited people who have overcome difficult challenges related to criminality and addiction and have found them to be exceptionally talented and loyal employees. Furthermore, they're not just in one sector but a variety of different sectors: from leading retail logistics company Clipper, to Landsec, one of the largest real estate companies in Europe, as well as the civil service.

Inspired by More than My Past? Over 80% of ex-offenders and people in recovery from addiction feel motivated to work. Employment is one of the most important factors in reducing reoffending and transforming lives.

If you are an employer looking to explore how former prisoners and people in recovery can strengthen your workforce as we build back better following the coronavirus pandemic, please do consider joining The Forward Trust's Partners and Employers Network (PEN). The Network brings together employers to share challenges and find solutions, with support, expertise and insight from Forward's employment services and service users.