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Looking Back At The Camden Singalong Ball

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There’s nothing like a good sing along. Better than karaoke, Friday I’m in Love is a monthly sing along event hosted in the heart of Camden, as well as other UK city destinations. This popular club night not only gives you the opportunity to shake a leg, but also to sing along in the crowd to all sorts of classics and guilty pleasures.

Last Friday, Britain’s original singalong club night hosted the Camden Singalong Spring Ball in association with the Mayor of Camden in aid of The Amy Winehouse Foundation. Fans got to sing some of their favourite Amy songs including Back to Black and Rehab with live music played by the very skilled FiiL band.

The event took place at Camden’s Purple Turtle and featured performances from some much loved names from music & entertainment including our very own Mitch Winehouse singing ‘Fly me to the Moon’, the Mayor of Camden himself spinning some tunes on the decks before his live performance of ‘Parklife’ and a beautiful rendition of ‘Love is a Losing Game’ by the very talented Jimmy Valentine.

The founder of Friday I’m in Love, Jayne Savva who first devised the concept of Friday I’m in Love gave us her thoughts on the night: “Friday I’m In Love is all about celebrating great music so it’s an honour to be raising funds and awareness in honour of one of the greatest artists of modern times”.

Mat Morrisroe, who runs the night with Jayne and also plays drums in the band, said: “What the foundation does to help young people discover their potential through music resonates with me as a musician. The inclusive goals of the AWF are perfectly in tune with the spirit of FiiL Club and we are very proud to be helping Amy’s legacy”.

Mitch Winehouse loves a good sing along too and gave his gratitude for their support:

Mitch said: “We love the theme of FiiL and the factthat they got everyone up singing, there’s nothing better than a good old sing song! We are very grateful for their support, we were sure the SpringSingalong Ball would be a great success”.

Amy’s gift was music and we feel proud at the foundation to be following in her footsteps doing as much fundraising as we can through music, raising funds to empower young peoples lives.

We would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all those that came down and supported us and we hope to work with FiiL again in the future!

Summer is just around the corner (we think) and the next few months for us will be very exciting… Stay posted on our blog to see the exciting things we get up to this summer and on how you can get involved too.

And, if you fancy a sing along, which I am sure you now do after reading this haha, visit:

https://www.facebook.com/FiiL.Club

Have a wonderful week and don’t let this grumpy weather get you down x

AWF becomes Mayor of Camden’s Charity of the Year

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Camden is a very special place to us at the Amy Winehouse Foundation, not only because of its music heritage and lively streets, but because Camden was Amy’s home and has therefore been the focus of much of our work to date.

So we are very proud to announce that we are now officially the Mayor of Camden’s Charity of the Year!

We really enjoyed attending the official ‘Mayor Making’ ceremony at Camden Town Hall, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of witnessing a little piece of history! The choir from Maria Fidelis school in Camden shared some beautiful music inside the council chamber, including the very fitting Morrissey’s ‘Come Back to Camden’. The fabulous Puppini Sisters performed in their truly unique style with the lovely Marcella Puppini being named as Mayoress for Camden, and the cupcakes provided by Kooky Bakes were simply divine.

Councillor Jonathan Simpson who is also know as ’Camden’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Mayor’ was inaugurated to the role last Wednesday and is looking forward to promoting all the incredible work we do: “It is an honour and a privilege to be elected to the position of Mayor for a second time and I look forward to working with all members across the Council. Amy Winehouse was a popular figure in Camden and leaves a lasting legacy.  The Foundation are a fantastic cause and I not only look forward to raising much needed funds for their work, but also supporting their aim of increasing drug and alcohol education to young people”.

Whilst raising funds for our foundation, Jonathan Simpson will also work closely on our Resilience Programme.

In March this year, we officially launched the Resilience Programme at London’s first ever ‘Recovery Festival’ in Westminster. This programme will support and educate pupils, teachers and parents and inspire change in the way children are taught about drugs and alcohol in school.

Working with the new Mayor, we will soon begin the programme in three schools in Camden; Acland Burghley, Hampstead School and La Sante Union.

Mitch Winehouse, Chair of the Amy Winehouse Foundation said: “Jonathan has been incredibly supportive of our work with young people and we are absolutely delighted that he has chosen the Amy Winehouse Foundation as his charity for the year. We very much look forward to working with him and his team.”

To find out more about our Resilience Programme please visit http://www.amywinehousefoundation.org/resilience-programme-for-schools

Thanks for reading and have a great week x

The Big Night Out

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As many of you are already aware, at the Amy Winehouse Foundation we think big when it comes to charities. From homeless shelters to community projects, the range of grants and support we provide is varied.

Last year, we funded the London Irish Centre, based in Camden Square this centre has grown to meet the interests of the ever-growing Irish community and residents of Camden. Aimed at engaging the community, they provide guidance and support with alcohol and drug misuse, physical and mental health, family and relationships and the importance of budgeting finances.

When we were told about the increase of young people coming to the centre to seek support, we granted the centre with £21,204 to fund an Advice Worker to support young people at a risk, having trouble accessing suitable housing, employment, social opportunities and dedicated drug & alcohol services when needed.

Another charity that we are proud to have supported is the LauraLynn Children’s Hospice. As the first children’s hospice in Ireland, they care for children with life limiting conditions and their families. Their team of carers aim to provide the highest care of the children. Last year we presented them with €25000, which was raised through the Euro equivalent of £1 from every copy of Amy’s new album ‘Lioness: Hidden Treasures’ sold in Ireland.

Having funded both charities, we decided to introduce the two organisations, as they are both Irish and doing great work in supporting disadvantaged young people, and we are proud to be supporting them in an event called the BIG Night Out.

Are you up for a BIG night on the town?

Get your dancing shoes on and join us on the 23rd of May at the London Irish Centre in Camden Square. With live music from Mitch Winehouse and his band, host Ray D’Arcy from Today FM and music from Mick Flannery, this black tie event will also feature a delicious three-course meal with an auction after.

Tickets for this fabulous night out range from £95 to £900 for a table of 10.

Join us in supporting two worthy causes and making difference to young peoples lives.

To find out more about tickets visit:

http://www.londonirishcentre.org/news/ray-darcy-to-host-the-big-night-out-at-the-london-irish-centre

To find out more about both charities please visit:

http://www.lauralynn.ie/blog/

http://www.londonirishcentre.org/

Thank you for reading and have a great week x

BNO13 A4 Poster Final

The Pilion Trust

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The Pillion Trust CrashPad is a cold weather shelter for young people that the Amy Winehouse Foundation has supported for two years now. With its main branch in Islington, the organisation also has smaller shelters in Camden, Brent and Bexley. 

IMG_2625With 137 referrals throughout the winter of 2011/2012 alone, the shelter is attended by a broad spectrum of young people who are referred for a variety of reasons by social services, the police and youth organisations. 

In winter 2011/2012 we funded £5100 to support the existing cold weather shelter. This money not only helped to keep the shelter open, but provided 137 young homeless people with a home for the winter, before they were supported to move on to temporary or permeanant accomodation. More recently, we funded a further £19,815 for the full staffing and volunteer costs of the Pilion Trust CrashPad  between December 2012 and May 2013.

The Pillion Trust believe that young people do not need a hand out, but instead they need the skills to get them into employment and housing. The staff at CrashPad ensure that all young people who come to Pillion leave with life skills and a home to go to. When young people come to the shelter, they are put on rotas to clean, help in the kitchen and learn how to cook. They also help with shopping and learn how to budget. They also provide English and maths classes and extra curricular activities. The programme encourages young people to go out to work, college, volunteering or training during the day and engage with other young people like themselves in group meals and activities during the evenings. 

This has proven successful with 65% of this years young people going into apprenternships college and employment upon leaving. All of these young people were also housed within various housing associations, local councils and employment companies. Some were also reconnected with their families and social services.

The Pillions Trust is doing great things. A recent exhibition last month in Brixton showcased their art work from the art workshops held at the shelter. Their football team will also be playing at the Homeless World Cup this year. Some of the young people also had the privilege of using Amy’s studio to work on their own music. I am sure Amy would have been proud.

Young people often become homeless through no fault of their own, but when they have the resources and support to make their lives better, they are on the road to success. There is no doubt that these young people are on their way to bigger and better things thanks to the Pilion Trust!

Join us in supporting the Pillion trust. To find out more please visit:

http://piliontrust.com/

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week

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Multiple Sclerosis can be a ticking time bomb with around 100,000 people in the UK being affected by this disease. As Janis Winehouse, Amy’s mother, suffers with multiple sclerosis, so the work of the MS Society has always been a cause particularly close to the family’s hearts.

This  week marks MS Awareness Week which hopes to raise public awareness of this condition and encourage research and funding. Run by the MS society, this organisation funds research as well as providing information and support to those with MS, they also invest money in specialists so people receive the best care.

Unlike many other illnesses, this is not something that is simply caught and treated. It is a neurological condition, which affect the nerves and muscular ability.  The symptoms of MS may be managed with medication, but the condition itself is incurable. Despite all the progressive research, the cause of this condition is still unknown. Some research suggests that it may be viral or that genetic history may be a contributing factor.

Last April we funded £10,000 towards a major study of Children and Young People with MS and £10,000 towards short breaks grants for young people with MS and their families, as well as young carers with a parent with MS.

A year in we have received some feedback from the MS Society on how the funded projects are going.

The Foundation’s funding of grants for young people who have MS has enabled us to offer this support for the first time. As well as supporting a family affected by MS in this way, we have been able to learn more about the needs of this group and how to connect with them. We will continue to promote this opportunity via appropriate channels and keep you informed of progress.

The Foundation’s funding of the first major study into childhood MS, led by Dr Evangeline Wassmer at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, has already led to ground-breaking results which have attracted media attention. We look forward to reporting on further outcomes of this long-term project and how it will lead to improvements in care for children diagnosed with MS.

Join us in raising awareness this week.

If you would like to know more please visit http://www.mssociety.org.uk/

Youth-led Drug & Alcohol Peer Education Project funded by the Amy Winehouse Foundation

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Peer mentors have a strong influence on young people. Why is this? Because Young people are likely to be more interested if a young person like them is giving them advice and information because they can relate to them and their experiences. One to one advice can also break down barriers meaning young people can feel more comfortable. 

Last year we funded Fitzrovia Youth in Action to run a One Year project to help spread awareness about substance misuse to young people in Camden. Young people involved in the project took part in drug and alcohol awareness training, after the training, specialist film and music tutors taught them how to turn their ideas into soundtracks and short films each creating awareness of drug and alcohol misuse. 

Fitzrovia Youth in Action worked in partnership with community including youth clubs, community centres, schools and colleges across the borough of Camden spreading to as many young people as it can. The young people who took part were then equipped to educate other young people about the effects of drug and alcohol misuse through the peer mentoring element of the project. Isn’t this great?

Last Thursday we were invited to the Camden Film Showcase which included 5 soundtracks/films produced throughout the project;

“Find Your Way” by Fitzrovia Youth in Action

“Promises” by Westminster Kingsway College

“Down” by Castlehaven

“Fell through the Trap” by Granville

“Harsh Reality” by Dragon Hall

We were so impressed with what we saw. Each one had a different message and style, and they were all very powerful and emotive. It was very satisfying to see the result of the year long project and to share that with so many of the amazing young people who took part. A big well done to everyone involved! 

As well as giving young people a voice on one of the most pressing issues they face, the project gave them the opportunity to gain skills in film production, script writing, composing storyboards, acting, workshop design and delivery, and team work. Participants completed AQAs in Drug Awareness and Film Making, and had the opportunity to take part in employability workshops and work experience placements. (http://www.fya.org.uk/peer-education/)

Janis Winehouse gave me her thoughts about this project:

“We are pleased to have supported the Drug & Alcohol Peer Education Project in partnership Fitzrovia Youth in Action. This project is unique as it sits in line with every aspect of our Mission; to inform and educate young people about the affects of drug and alcohol misuse, to support and develop music provision and to inspire those young people most vulnerable and disadvantaged to reach their full potential. We are always looking for new and innovative ways to achieve this mission, and this project is certainly no exception. We very much look forward to seeing its results and hope the young people involved go on to use their talent and skills to achieve many more great things, they should be very proud of themselves.”

Young people do have a voice and can make a difference and this project is a fine example of just that! 

Stay tuned and we hope to share some of the films with you soon x

www.fya.org.uk

Giving Our Backing To Child Abuse Awareness Month.

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What do you think of as child abuse?

Whilst many might associate child abuse with physical assault, this isn’t always the case. Quite often children can also be the victims of emotional abuse. Child abuse refers to the maltreatment of children on both a physical and emotional level.

Either way, the consequences of a difficult childhood can stay with you for the rest of your life. Often those who have been the victims of such crime (whether reported or unreported) struggle to articulate their emotions and relate to other people causing significant problems in later life. With their confidence in tatters, according to the NSPCC they are much more likely to become abuse victims again in the future or to suffer from alcohol or drug addiction.

Of course, while there are many ways to support those who have been the victims of such abuse, we at the Amy Winehouse Foundation fully support Child Abuse Awareness Month.  Since the launch of the foundation, we have worked with and supported many young people who have been the victims of domestic abuse.

Yet still it is not enough. Imagine these young people are your sister, brother, your best friend or even your child? Wouldn’t you want someone to help? We should not rest until every child in the UK is safe and well cared for.

So this month, why don’t you do something to make a difference… you never know you might just save a life.

The Amy Winehouse Foundation Inspiration Awards & Gala

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The Amy Winehouse Inspiration Awards & Gala was held last week on March 21, 2013 in the heart of New York City in the Starlight Rooms of the beautiful and iconic Waldorf Astoria.

The red carpet event featured special performances from Jennifer Hudson and Tony Bennett as well as many celebrity guests and honourees who were presented with Amy Winehouse Foundation Awards for their inspirational work. Both performances blew the room away, and each received standing ovations.

Inspiration Awards & Gala

Among this year’s awards was the AWF Inspiration Award for Lifetime Achievement presented to the Grammy award-winning singer and legendary entertainer Mr. Tony Bennett, In addition to his many philanthropic endeavors as well as his impact on music history, Mr. Bennett was someone that Amy deeply admired and had the opportunity to record with in a collaboration of “Body & Soul”. The Duet won the Grammy last year for “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” and a percentage of the proceeds from the single was donated by Tony to the Foundation. Tony was presented his award by hid old friend Harry Belafonte, who not only spoke about Tony’s incredible music career and influence, but also about their involvement in the civil rights movement. You could have heard a pin drop in the room during this poignant moment and it was a true honour to be in their presence.

Before the event we joined NAS backstage at the London o2 Arena on his LifeIsGood Tour, where Amy’s mother and Manager presented him with The AWF Inspiration Award for a New Generation. Nas kindly very kindly donated £1 from the sale of every ticket to this event to the Foundation, an incredibly generous gesture for which we are very grateful. Unfortunately Nas was unable to attend the ball, but a VT was shown at the Gala to rapturous applause. NAS was first introduced to Amy’s music in 2004 through producer Salaam Remi and they became instant friends. “She was really inspired by him,” says ReMI, who produced the Amy/NAS collaborations “Like Smoke” and “Cherry Wine”. Not only did the two share a similarity in the way they approached music but they shared the same birthday (September 14th). “Amy was an amazing talent and a special artist. She was like a little sister to me,” says NAS, “I’m happy to be involved with a foundation that not only keeps her memory alive but helps support those things she cared most about- kids and music.”

The AWF Inspiration Award for Visionary Leadership went to Salaam Remi, the Grammy nominated producer and Executive Vice President, A&R and Production, Sony Music Entertainment. Remi worked with Amy on all her award winning albums including Frank and Back to Black. He not only worked with Amy and NAS, but also the likes of Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill and performer on the night Jennifer Hudson. This illustrious career, including his significant philanthropic work and creative vision, has significantly impacted and developed the careers of many, and Amy loved his passion and respected his genius and thought of SaLaAM as family. During his acceptance speech Salaam said it was a “bitter sweet moment”.

The last prestigious award of the night went to Elhadj “Moe” Kane, who received The AWF Inspiration Award for Helping Build a Better World. Mr. Kane’s focus on renewable energy solutions to power the world on into the future as well as co-founding the humanitarian consortium FEWS (Food Electricity Water and Shelter for all) made him the perfect recipient for this award.

These awards were our first major event in America while will have raised awareness and resources for the Foundation in the United States. Our mission in the US is to support and empower young people in need through music therapy and music education and to prevent the effects of drug and alcohol misuse on young people. We aim to support, inform and inspire vulnerable and disadvantaged young people to help them reach their full potential.

This is just one of the many incredible things the foundation have done so far this year so and have so many other exciting projects to look forward to. Life is exciting when you are making a difference and getting the support to the young people who really need it, which is what we are all about and I for one am so grateful to be a part of it all!

A huge thank you to everyone who helped put this event together including:

Julie Muraco, Tracey Miller PR, The Saxton Group and our official Sponsor Adot.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week

Sophia x

The Amy Winehouse Foundation Resilience Programme

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School is a big part of young peoples lives. Looking back on my school years I am constantly reminded of how important education is. Knowledge is power. School is a place where you are nurtured and encouraged to do your best, to then go into the real world to pursue your dreams. Little do we realize that in many ways, the education we get at school develops our perspective on how we see life and how we lead it.

Last week on the 12th and 13th of March we officially launched the Amy Winehouse Foundation Resilience Programme at London’s first ever ‘Recovery Festival’ in Westminster. The new programme hopes to support and educate pupils, teachers and parents and inspire change in the way children are taught about drugs and alcohol in school.

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Such education is ‘either inconsistent or non-existent’ and ‘misunderstands the reasons people turn to drink and drugs in the first place’ says Mitch Winehouse.

The launch was a great success, and was attended by Russell Brand who was there to show his support for the Foundation, the resilience programme and abstinence based recovery.

The Amy Winehouse Foundation and our partner Addaction (http://www.addaction.org.uk) polled over 4000 people in the UK on drug and alcohol issues. The survey found that 84 per cent of respondents with school aged children (5-15yrs) believe that drugs and alcohol are a serious problem. Only 33 per cent of respondents believed that schools provide adequate education to children and young people around drugs and alcohol.

The Foundation’s Resilience programme will initially be rolled out in ten different locations across England and will be delivered by people who are already in recovery who are fully trained, accredited and supported by professional workers in the field. They will share their own experiences as recovering addicts to give young people a better understanding of drug and alcohol misuse, with a focus on self-esteem; risky behavior and peer pressure and allow young people to explore the issues in a non-judgmental, effective and educational way.

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By doing this we hope to increase young peoples knowledge and awareness but also increase young peoples levels of resilience, self-esteem and resistance to peer pressure. Young people are also able to access specialist support and services when needed and will be able to access a free, confidential phone and online service for children and young people across the UK, provided by our partner Childline http://www.childline.org.uk

The Foundation believes that prevention is better than cure, therefore the programme will increase parents’ knowledge about the help that is on offer, and what support is available to both adults and young people, and will also train teachers to identify students at a risk of substance misuse. In sites where Addaction do not deliver young peoples services the Amy Winehouse Foundation will engage with local treatment services to provide the teacher training and targeted intervention work.

Mitch Winehouse said ‘Amy always had a lot of time for young people and wanted to help them whenever she could.  Through the Amy Winehouse Foundation Resilience Programme we will be able to help thousands of young people – and Amy would have been very proud of that.’

School isn’t just about lessons in textbooks but about lessons in life. Through this resilience programme we hope to change and inspire the lives of countless young people who need it most!

For more information on the Amy Winehouse Foundation Resilience Programme, visit http://www.amywinehousefoundation.org/resilience-programme-for-schools

Thanks for reading and have a great week x

Looking Back At International Women’s Day

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“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights” Gloria Steinem

Last Friday (March 8) marked International Women’s Day. This day marked the celebration of an unborn child who has as much right to live as her male counterpart, a young teenage mother who has the right to still get an education, good health and a life of dignity, the working mother who does a double shift to keep her family going of an old woman who can see most her life pass her through her own eyes. It was a day for women in places high and low and everything in between striving for fulfilment and their roles as daughters, mothers, sisters and wives.

This day is not only a day set aside to celebrate being a women, but it’s also a reminder that there is still so much to do to empower the lives of women and girls across the world.

Gender-based violence is one of the most pervasive and, at the same time, least-recognized human rights abuses in the world. As many as one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or abused in some other way – most often by someone she knows, including by her husband or another male family member.

The Humanitarian organisation, Care estimates that 1 billion women will be victims of violence in a lifetime.

http://www.care.org/campaigns/voices-against-violence/index.asp

In 2011, Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions, confirmed that girls aged between 16 and 19 are now more at risk of domestic violence than women in any other age group. On Valentine’s Day, the Home Office launched a three-month campaign against teenage relationship abuse, following similar campaigns in 2010 and 2011; MP Stella Creasy also called on parliament to make sex and relationship education, of the sort given by the Tender Charity, compulsory in schools as a means of eliminating violence against women.

http://tender.org.uk

Although there have been massive life changes for women since we first got our vote on that momentous day in 1911, Wednesday was a reminder that there is still a long way to go.

Join us in celebrating equality for women.

Have a wonderful week and thanks for reading. Catch you next week x