Success Story: Forward Trust – Open Road Southend Project


  ILLY Systems are driven by delivering dynamic and intuitive systems for services, with services, which enable our partners within the ILLY Community to continue to deliver a high standard of support to vulnerable adults and young people.



In April 2022 we were really excited to welcome Open Road – in partnership with Forward Trust – into the ILLY Community, following the successful rollout of LINKS CarePath across Southend.

Southend-on-Sea is a coastal city in south east Essex. 60% of the population aged between 16–54 and 19% under the age of 15. Southend, like many coastal areas,  face challenges of deprivation – in 2015, over 25% of Southend residents lived within areas classified as being in the 20% most deprived in England. 

Forward Trust have been successfully using LINKS CarePath across their East Kent services for a number of years. They recently won the tender to deliver the Adult and Young Persons Drug and Alcohol Services in Southend, with the YP service being delivered in partnership with Open Road – a charity that was established over 25 years and who support individuals on their journey to recovery from drug and alcohol misuse. 


The Southend Service:

In Southend, Open Road will work in partnership with Forward Trust to support adults and young people that have been impacted by substance misuse – this includes family members and individuals that have been referred from the Criminal Justice sector (YOT).

A key challenge for Open Road is to support service users looking for work into meaningful employment.  They are doing this through the  Individual Placement and Support (IPS) initiative, whereby trained employment specialists working within a multidisciplinary treatment team offer ETE support.   



Matthew Gauden is the IPS Employment Manager for the Open Road service – he offers intensive, individual support with rapid job searches, the aim of which is to place people in paid employment. As Matthew states: “IPS isn’t about getting people protected jobs or jobs that we think they can do; it’s about asking that person ‘who would they be if they were working?’ and putting them in touch with the employment specialist that can make that happen.”

Forward Trust will deliver structured support for adults requiring pharmacological and psychosocial treatment using the established and successful model adopted by their East Kent services. 

We recently caught up with Corrine Johns (Service Manager, Open Road), Pedro Rogriguez (Data Lead, Forward Trust) and Jamie Pennycott (Southend Commissioner) who offered their perspectives on the project:  


 ILLY LINKS CarePath compared to other systems takes you through steps thus making it easy for a recovery worker to handle. Prior to CarePath we were consuming time on manually typing all risk assessment and CarePlans but with LINKS CarePath it is more automated and easy to use.”

Corrine Johns (Service Manager, Open Road)


Pedro Rodriguez (Data lead, Forward Trust)

“The implementation was smooth, considering we started the service on a Friday which probably wasn’t the best day to start! … but we managed to do a very smooth transition considering all factors – a new system, a new service, a new company – everything ‘new’ – but the team was amazing and everyone was welcoming and positive, and tried to see the good things about the change and accepting the challenges at the same time”


“Throughout my time working with ILLY  the system has always shown to be efficient in recording and reporting the activity of the team.  From a commissioning perspective, the implementation appeared seamless, which probably highlights both the quality of the system and the adaptability and efficiency of both the ILLY team and those of Forward Trust and Open Road”

Jamie Pennycott (Southend Commissioner)