Tony Wright, Founder & Chief Executive of Forward Assist joined the Royal Marines in 1978 and medically discharged in 1981 after seriously injuring his shoulder during basic training. As an Early Service Leaver (ESL) he has firsthand knowledge of how difficult it is for many former servicemen and women to re-establish themselves back into the civilian community after discharge from the Armed Forces.

He is particularly supportive of those veterans that suffer from Post Traumatic Stress or other difficulties relating to adjustment and assimilation. After leaving the Armed Forces he was technically homeless and unemployed for some time before returning to the education system to gain appropriate qualifications so that he could re-train in an occupation of his choice. He has worked in a range of statutory and voluntary welfare settings, qualifying as a Social Worker in 1996. His experience includes Senior Management roles in Residential Care settings, Community Support Outreach Teams, and the Intensive Supervision and support of Prolific and Priority Adult Offenders in both the Probation Service and the voluntary sector. More recently he worked as a Home Office Advisor based within Government Office North East and whilst working in the Homeless sector develop numerous innovative interventions for Adults Facing Chronic Exclusion that are now recognised as best practice.

Tony sits on several groups that specialise in meeting the currently ‘un-met’ needs of veterans in the Criminal Justice System. He has had several articles published in specialist periodicals and in recent years he travelled to the USA for a 6 week period as part of a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship to research ‘compare and contrast’ the services available to US veterans and those in the UK. He has since established a Veterans Exchange Programme with the USA and teams of Veterans from both countries have taken part in this cultural exchange. Tony is currently campaigning for the introduction of Veterans Treatment Courts into the UK Criminal Justice System and has advised Politicians, Magistrates, and Government Officials on this matter.