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Amy’s Yard – ‘I can push through and find a way’.

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As part of our fifth birthday celebrations, the NME spoke with two graduates from our Amy’s Yard programme.

Over a 12 week period, our programme provides vulnerable 18 to 25-year-old artists with the skills to become self-sustaining musicians, and the participants – who can be dealing with a variety of issues such as homelessness, mental health, unemployment or substance misuse – leave the course as self-sufficient artists.

You can find out just what an opportunity that was for graduates Shamus and Kenan, over at the NME’s website.

Our new study shows that drug and alcohol education in school works. Now we are calling on government to provide it to all pupils.

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Our new study shows that if drug and alcohol education in schools is done properly, it works. Now we are calling on government to provide it to all pupils.

Five years ago this month, we set up the Amy Winehouse Foundation in order to join the fight against drug and alcohol problems among young people.

As a key part of that work, we joined up with the treatment charity Addaction and created the Amy Winehouse Resilience Programme for Schools. Our research showed that the kinds of drug and alcohol education that was taking place in schools wasn’t anywhere near as effective as it could be, so we created something new. In our model which runs at selected schools across the UK, trained and accredited volunteers use their own experiences of substance misuse and recovery to educate students, parents and teachers about the real reasons why young people may misuse substances and what can be done to prevent it. These volunteers have all overcome significant personal issues and now live substance free lives, contributing to society and helping others to make wise and informed choices. And it is that honesty and truth – about the underlying feelings and root causes of substance misuse problems, that has made all the difference.

Our new report shows just how effective that work has been. It is one of largest research studies of its kind, evaluating 17,000 young people engaged with the Resilience Programme. The results show the vital importance of skills development programmes around alcohol and drugs.

  • 89% of pupils said they found the programme useful to them. Only 4% said it was not useful.
  • 76% of young people said their knowledge about drugs, including “legal highs” had increased.
  • 73% of young people said their knowledge about alcohol had increased. 75% of young people said they were more con dent about making safer decisions about drug use and 73% said the same about alcohol use.
  • The Programme helps participants to develop skills to manage self-esteem, risky behaviours and peer pressure.The evidence shows that ability and confidence to manage these areas plays an important role in young people’s decision-making around substances.
  • 91% of pupils said they were now well informed that they could seek confidential help in the event of being concerned about substance use, peer pressure or bullying.
  • 79% of pupils said that they would be more likely to avoid risky behaviours relating to substance misuse.
  • 83% of pupils said they would seek out support for alcohol or drug issues.
  • 77% of pupils said they would definitely not use drugs in the next six months.

We are now calling on the Government to put in place effective, evidence-based prevention wok across all schools in the UK. Our research shows that it can improve life chances for young people, and truly have an effect on the problems of drug and alcohol misuse.

You can download a copy of our new report, Real Life Experience: Results and Recommendations, here.

This morning (12th September, 2016) Jane Winehouse appeared alongside Addaction on BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today programme to talk about the results of the study, the Foundation’s anniversary and about the resilience programme. You can listen to that interview here (from 2h52m) until the 10th October, 2016.

Amy’s Yard Poem

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Shakira, who completed our Amy’s Yard music project has written a poem about her experiences of completing the project.

Stuck in a silent state of mind
Afraid of failure if I speak
Filled with precious thoughts inside
Longing to share them with the people I meet.

‘Our day will come’

Nervous. Anxious. Feeling faint.
I begin a new journey along a positive path
Bursts of excitement, I wish to paint
A completed image of my broken halves

‘Our day will come’

I smile much more and laugh a lot too
It seems these strangers aren’t so frightening
An inspiring experience, I’m glad I pursued
Incredible beyond the surface, much like lightening

‘Our day will come’

Today I wake with a purpose
Tomorrow I will look forward too
Next year is a mystery
That I thankfully can’t wait to see

My day has come.

amysyard photo

Leading eating-disorder charity launches brand new website, thanks to support from Amy Winehouse Foundation

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The UK’s leading charity supporting people with eating disorders, is now better placed to provide information and advice thanks to support from the Amy Winehouse Foundation.

Launched to coincide with Eating Disorder Awareness Week, Beat’s brand new website is now able to offer excellent interactive help and support people and families battling anorexia nervosa, bulimia and other related mental health issues.

Sufferers and their families looking for help will be able to access the site by smart phone or tablet, use message boards, take part in live chats and online support groups and search for local support services. This will deliver the charity’s core services 24/7 in a much more interactive way.

What’s more, b-eat.co.uk will also appeal particularly to teens and young adults – a demographic of particular concern to us at the Amy Winehouse Foundation. Amy herself battled with an eating disorder and so her family felt strongly that the work done by Beat was something they would like to support.

In fact, a brand new report from Beat (which shows that eating disorders ‘most frequently become apparent when people are in compulsory education’ and are under 16) chimes with the Amy Winehouse Foundation’s own experiences when delivering its Resilience Programme For Schools across the UK. And like Beat’s own report finds, the Amy Winehouse Foundation believes that the earliest possible interventions are the most effective when it comes to addressing a problem in someone’s life. That’s why this new website – which can quickly reach out to more people, with the most timely information and advice – is such an important tool.

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“We are delighted to have this vital support from the Amy Winehouse Foundation which has enabled us to produce a brand new website. We get 46,000 unique hits to our current website every month and the new site will help us to reach many more of the 1.6million people affected by these serious mental illnesses in the UK. Our website is a key part of what we do and it’s vital that we make the information and support we have easily accessible to everyone.”
Beat’s Chief Executive Susan Ringwood

“B-eat’s work in supporting people affected by eating disorders is vital. We frequently encounter young people who are struggling with these issues in our own work with secondary schools, and understand just how terrible an impact an eating disorder can have on them and their family. That’s why it’s so important that anyone struggling with these issues is able to access information and advice as easily as possible, so that they can get the support they deserve’.
Alex Winehouse.

You can visit the brand new site at www.b-eat.co.uk

Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2015

Blogs | News

This week is Eating Disorders Awareness Week, an annual week of campaigning devoted to talking about eating disorders in a way that encourages recovery and lets the people affected know that they are not alone and can be supported in recovery.

1 in 10 people will experience partial or full symptoms of an eating disorder, which can have serious impact on everyday day life making things such as work and social life harder.

Taking place from 23rd February-1s March, the week aims to raise awareness and a higher level of understanding in order to eliminate the stigma attached to this serious mental illness and raise funds for improved services to help support those with eating disorders.

Thanks to the legacy of Amy Winehouse, Beat – the UK’s leading eating disorder charity – is now able to offer more interactive help and support through its new website funded by a £45,000 donation from the Amy Winehouse Foundation.

Sufferers and their families will be able to access the site by mobile phone and use message boards, take part in online support groups and search for local support services. This will deliver the charity’s core services 24/7 in a more interactive way, which will appeal particularly to the younger generation that the Foundation wishes to support.

Amy battled with an eating disorder during her life and the Winehouse family felt strongly that this was an area they would like to support. Amy was passionate about helping young people, and fully understood the problems that many of them face.

Beat will be holding a launch event on Thursday, which we will update you on.

If you have been affected by an eating disorder, or know someone who has, please visit or contact:

www.b-eat.co.uk

Helpline – 0845 634 1414

Youthline – 0845 634 6750

Email – fyp@b-eat.co.uk

Text – 07786 20 18 20

 http://www.nhs.uk/eating-disorders

 

Shakira Alleyne

Amy Winehouse Foundation Ball 2014

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Amy Winehouse Foundation Ball 2014

“I have woken up feeling inspired” Alexandra Burke

“Loved the stunning performances from Amy’s Yard” Graham Norton

“An amazing evening for a truly inspirational foundation” Paul Sculfor

These are just some of the many comments guests have made after attending the Amy Winehouse Foundation’s 3rd annual ball that took place last week at The Landmark Hotel, and I 100% agree with them! There was a great turn out with over 400 supporters who gathered to pay tribute to Amy’s astonishing life and to celebrate the fantastic work that the Foundation has achieved.

 

Mitch and Janis Winehouse opened the evening by thanking everyone who has supported and continues to support the Foundation, the night was hosted by BBC London’s Vanessa Feltz who did a fantastic job and spoke very passionately about Amy and the work beingdone in her memory.
Amy Winhouse Foundation Dinner 2014 By Harry Pseftoudis -18.11.2014
Amy Winhouse Foundation Dinner 2014 By Harry Pseftoudis -18.11.2014

The atmosphere throughout the evening was delightful with a lovely dinner and wonderful performances from talented musicians such as Jermaine Jackman and Mitch Winehouse himself! There were also performances from Amy’s Yard, which I am a part of; we were given the amazing opportunity to share the music we have created down to the help of the Foundation.
Amy Winhouse Foundation Dinner 2014 By Harry Pseftoudis -18.11.2014

Despite us all being incredibly nervous, we managed to successfully perform in front of hundreds of people. The biggest highlight for me was to receive such encouraging feedback which felt very special. It is certainly an achievement we can be extremely proud of and I’m still buzzing from the excitement of the experience!

 

Amy Winhouse Foundation Dinner 2014 By Harry Pseftoudis -18.11.2014

 

George from the Resilience Programme gave an engaging speech on the night and spoke about how the Foundation has helped him to share his personal experience in schools to help raise awareness of the effects of drug and alcohol misuse.

Amy Winhouse Foundation Dinner 2014 By Harry Pseftoudis -18.11.2014

During the night there was a silent auction as well as a live auction hosted by one of the Foundations Patron’s Jon Snow where people were given the opportunity to bid for lots including a steel portrait of Amy and an Eastenders tour which was personally auctioned off by Barbra Windsor another patron of AWF. This gave a chance for guests to donate money in order to help keep the Foundation going and to help the charity grow.
Amy Winhouse Foundation Dinner 2014 By Harry Pseftoudis -18.11.2014

The Hard work and effort the Amy Winehouse Foundation has put into organising the ball has certainly paid off!

Amy Winhouse Foundation Dinner 2014 By Harry Pseftoudis -18.11.2014

It was such a pleasure to be a part of the evening, I just hope the work will continue and other young people out there will be able to say the same thing next year.

 

Thank you to all of you who have donated because the Foundation has undoubtedly changed things for myself, and many others and there are so many more young people who could benefit.

 

I had an incredible evening and I definitely won’t be forgetting this exciting event.

 

Shakira Alleyne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amy’s Yard: A young persons perspective

Blogs | News

Amy’s Yard; supporting young people to become self sustaining music artists.

A young persons perspective…

Amy’s Yard aims to develop the skills of talented young people who have a keen interest in music but don’t have many opportunities due to varied disadvantages.

Having taken part in the programme myself I can happily say that it has and continues to be a huge help to young people. It has given me the necessary knowledge to develop as a musician whilst also helping me to grow as a person through an incredibly enjoyable and life changing experience.

When first starting out on the course I was filled with excitement and although this was masked by my nervousness and fear of not fitting in, it soon subsided as the atmosphere amongst the group was extremely relaxed and I was quickly able to be myself and engage with other members of the group who also had their own worries. This certainly helped build my confidence and my ability to get involved in the interesting discussions and activities offered.

Attending the individual studio sessions gave us the chance to create music in a safe comfortable environment and for me it was a great way to develop my songwriting and improve on my vocals with the help of constructive feedback.

The master classes were also extremely beneficial as each one was led by experienced professionals who gave us information on aspects of the music industry giving us a deeper insight and with some sessions focusing on performance, which supported us to improve our work.

A session that I found particularly helpful was vocal coaching with Klara Kjellen. On this day we each chose a song to rehearse in order to look at vocal techniques and improve on our voices with feedback from the whole group. At first I found the idea daunting but with the support of others I continued to take part and felt a great sense of achievement afterwards.

Overall the experience has been wonderful and has enabled each of us to achieve many significant things such as performing for the first time and overcoming social and personal difficulties.

Looking back from the start of the course to now I feel as though I have come extremely far and feel very proud of what I have achieved, as do the other members of the group. This would have not been possible without the foundation and the positive impact that it has had on our lives is clear!

I will definitely continue to use the skills I have learned and I will remain grateful for the day that I was accepted onto the course.

Shakira Alleyne

There is FUN in FUNdraising

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Like most charities, fundraising is one of the biggest things needed to keep us going here at the Foundation. Without it, we would not be able to deliver our projects or support other charities and programmes. It’s important to us that we don’t just hand out money, but that we see lasting change and continuity that will empower people’s lives. This takes time and money.

So we need YOUR help to keep going!

Last week we travelled to Birmingham to support a music event that was set up by a group of young people to not only raise money for the foundation, but to also keep Amy’s memory alive. Young talented artists took to the stage to cover Amy’s classics in a fitting tribute to her musical legacy and showcase the outstanding talent shining through so many young people. Some young people engage in Amy’s Yard, an Amy Winehouse Foundation music project also attended the event.

This kind of event is just one of many examples of how you can fundraise for us. It can be fun! And we will support you wherever you need help.

Here’s what to do:

  • Have a think about what kind of event you would like to hold
  • Decide what the event is
  • Register your event via our website
  • Set up a Just Giving page
  • Get your friends involved
  • Get planning!

Here at the Foundation we have lots of great ideas for fundraising, so if you can’t think of one, why not try one of these…

  • Bake sale
  • Charity car wash
  • Sponsored treasure hunt
  • Sponsored fun run

Or for the really adventurous amongst you, there are always some crazy fundraising ideas that are guaranteed to be lots of fun. Such as a Battle of the Bands, or sponsoring a teacher or boss to have their legs, beard, or head shaved!

And don’t forget to let us at the charity know if you are holding a fundraising event. We would love to help promote any events that are happening by posting them up on our Twitter account. And most importantly, remember to send us lots of photos! It’s always fun to see photos of the events being hosted by our supporters, and we can Tweet them so everyone can see what great work you guys do.

So get your thinking caps on guys, and lets get fundraising!

Celebrating our Foundation so far…

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sophia1
Me and Mitch

On Sunday night the Amy Winehouse Foundation had an evening celebrating our achievements over the last 21 months, and an opportunity to welcome and thank our supporters old and new. We were joined by family, friends, supporters, charity partners, AWF volunteers and guests of Adot.

The evening was hosted by Janis and Mitch Winehouse who talked about the unique aspects of the work we do and all the progress that has been made since they started the Foundation. We were entertained by talented young people who have been supported by the Foundation, and speakers included people volunteering for the foundation’s Resilience Programme, and myself as I gave a speech about blogging for the foundation and how inspiring it has been for me.

It is credit to everyone’s hard work that we have achieved so much in such a short time but we are committed to continuing our work in Amy’s name to provide support to so many causes close to her heart. So while we have done so much he message was stressed by Mitch throughout the evening, that we can only continue our work this with support from not only those in the room, but also from each and every one of you out there.

This will mean we can continue to provide and support drug and alcohol education and support, youth homelessness working with those most vulnerable, and engaging and inspiring young people through music… the list goes on. It made me so proud to hear about all the hard work and the impact it’s made in such a short time.

Me and Rowan
Me and Rowan

Family, friends and special guests mixed with young people and supporters of the foundation while the room reverberated with love. The friendly crowd were entertained by two fantastic young artists engaged with the AWF Music Project ‘Amy’s Yard’ and the three boys who received scholarships to Sylvia Young Theatre School through the Foundation, who gave a beautiful rendition of ‘Valerie’. A young artist Ocean Wisdom who is working with the Foundation’s sponsors Adot also performed to rapturous applause.

It was a night of music, laughter, tears and celebration and it was an honour to be there.

Thank you for your continuing support. Well done you!

Sophia Kichou
AWF Blogger


Find out more about Adot here:

Volunteer’s Week

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What a beautiful start to the week! June officially marks the beginning of the summer and what better way to start than with Volunteers Week!

I am sure every one of you reading this has volunteered your time to a good cause at least once. This week is your chance to celebrate all the incredible things you have done and promote the difference volunteering can make.

Run by Volunteering England, Volunteers’ Week runs until the 7th of June and aims to celebrate the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.

Every year, over 20 million people across the UK volunteer, donating more than 100 million hours to their communities every week.

http://www.volunteering.org.uk/policy-and-campaigns/volunteers-week

Volunteering is an incredibly powerful way to change your life and, through volunteering myself, I’ve found it’s opened so many doors for me. In fact, Writing this blog is voluntary!  As a journalism student, not only does this blog give me an online presence, but also, through working with the wonderful team here at the Foundation, I’ve been able to continuously build on my skills, while all the while knowing that my work contributes towards the wider impact of the Foundation’s work.

Whatever your interests are there’s almost certainly an opportunity out there for you to help someone else and discover something about yourself in to the bargain.

With so many of us online, finding the right opportunities couldn’t be easier. My top tip would be to make the most of social media: begin following the organisations or groups that you are particularly passionate about and keep updated on everything they are doing.

Charities and community organisations constantly need people to volunteer their time, skills and above all, their passion. For young people it’s important to remember that it’s a good way to get your foot in the door. Whether you are just starting out, at university, or just trying to find as many work placement as possible; becoming a volunteer could really pay off. It’s certainly made me who I am today.

Get started by checking out some of the organisations that are involved in Volunteers Week.

Volunteering England- http://www.volunteering.org.uk/

CSV: http://www.csv.org.uk/volunteering

V Inspired: http://www.vinspired.com/v

VSO: http://www.vso.org.uk/volunteer

The Guardian:  http://jobs.guardian.co.uk/jobs/volunteering/

Time Bank: http://timebank.org.uk/

Happy volunteering! Don’t forget to enjoy the sunshine this week x