Resilience work with young people

“Without this experience I wouldn’t have known how much drugs affect you and may have gone down the wrong path.”

Every year, we meet thousands of young people who feel under a great deal of pressure. They can be struggling with exams or with relationships. Or they may feel the need to look or act in certain ways. These stresses can have a significant impact on both their physical and emotional health.

Some will find positive ways to deal with whatever life throws at them. But we know that others will be more vulnerable, and may use drugs or alcohol to cope.  That’s why we created our programme.

It helps young people to learn new coping skills and build emotional resilience, so they’re able to approach life’s challenges in a lasting and positive way.

In secondary schools, colleges and community settings, dedicated staff and volunteers explain the risks associated with substance misuse by sharing their own personal stories. Our teams include people in recovery from their own drug or alcohol problems. They may also have experience of mental health issues, or homelessness.

Rather than only providing information, or using a ‘scare tactics’ approach, these teams work with young people to look at the underlying causes and consequences of substance misuse and risky behaviours, and to hear about students’ real life concerns and pressures.

That way young people gain a wider, contextual understanding of the issues, as well as learning how to make better, informed choices about their own lives.

How it works

The programme is delivered through face-to face sessions, online assemblies and workshops for students, parents and teachers. This allows for meaningful and in-depth discussions, and for participants to truly engage with issues around drugs, alcohol and emotional resilience.

To read more, you can download a copy of our program brochure here.

As well as the help we receive from supporters like you, the Amy Winehouse Foundation collaborates with other charities and organisations to ensure our work in schools understands how young people live their lives, and is informed by the newest approaches. We do this by constantly evaluating what we do, as well as running focus groups and conversations with young people, parents, guardians and teachers.

Since 2013, more than 410,000 young people have engaged with our alcohol and drug awareness sessions in over 530 schools and community settings.

In 2023, after taking part in the Resilience Programme*:

of pupils felt more knowledgeable about the effects of drugs and alcohol on the body.
0 %
of pupils felt more knowledgeable about the situations and experiences that can lead to substance misuse.
0 %
of pupils felt more confident about the things they can do to make safer decisions IF they were to use alcohol or drugs.
0 %
of pupils said they would seek help if they were concerned about themselves or someone else’s substance use.
0 %
of pupils said they would know where to go to get help if they were concerned about themselves or someone else’s substance use.
0 %

*Each year the young people who participate in the Resilience Programme are asked to engage in completion of an anonymous online survey. In 2023 a total number of 3946 young people responded to the survey.

A fully evaluated programme

From 2014 to March 2019, our work in schools was conducted as part of the Amy Winehouse Foundation Resilience Programme, and delivered in partnership with treatment charity Addaction (now known as With You). This pioneering work was made possible with funding from the Big Lottery fund.

The Amy Winehouse Resilience Programme for Schools has been fully and independently evaluated by a team of researchers, from the University of Bath (UK) and Harvard University (US).

This team (which specialises in developmental psychology, and family and young person addiction) surveyed more than 80,000 young people. This is one of the largest school-based alcohol and drug education programmes to have been delivered externally, and evaluated through a charitable partnership, in England.

You can download a summary of this evaluation, including an overview of methodology and key findings, here.