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Lottery £4.3 million for Amy Winehouse schools project

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Release date:
3 3 2014

“We couldn’t wait, so we didn’t wait,” says father of Amy Winehouse, as he prepares to roll-out a programme of drug and alcohol education thanks to a grant of £4.3 million from the Big Lottery Fund.

The Amy Winehouse Foundation will be joining forces with Addaction to deliver a five-year Resilience Education programme to 250,000 secondary school children across England.

The project is based on two strands of work piloted by these two charities: drug and alcohol education and support for young people affected by substance misuse at home. The two strands are being brought together to create an ambitious project that will have a much wider reach and greater impact than the component parts on their own.

“We are thrilled to have been awarded this Big Lottery funding,” said Mitch Winehouse. “It won’t solve the problems in itself, but it allows us to keep going with the great work being done in Amy’s name. And that’s what we want – to get on and do something. We could have spent our time trying to get the programme on to the school curriculum, but in all honesty that would have taken years and years of kids missing out on something that really helps them. We couldn’t wait, and thanks to this funding support, we don’t have to”.

The Resilience programme works by creating an environment in schools where pupils can talk freely and openly about their lives, and to people who are in recovery from their own problems with drugs and alcohol.

“The programme”, explained Mr Winehouse, “really helps thousands of kids who need to talk about drugs, drink and other concerns in an honest and straight-talking way. This isn’t about ‘just say no’. It’s about understanding why kids feel they want to get drunk. Why they might smoke something. We help them find ways of dealing with difficult issues that don’t involve turning to drugs and alcohol. And our volunteers talk about their own struggles with doing just that. It’s all about building emotional resilience’.

The project will originally be delivered in 10 England areas* with the UK’s leading drug and alcohol charity, Addaction, and by a team of trained volunteers who have direct experience of substance misuse and are in recovery themselves.

Providing the emotional connection needed to make an impact, 250 volunteers will deliver life story share sessions and workshops on resilience, self esteem, peer pressure and risky behaviour. These sessions will not only focus on avoiding substance misuse, but explore the many factors that can contribute towards a young person being susceptible to substance misuse, such as emotional issues, bullying, family circumstances or parents who misuse.

The Resilience programme also works with parents and teachers, helping them to better understand drug and alcohol use, and to navigate their way through complex issues and developments – such as the emergence of so called ‘legal highs’.

Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive of Addaction, the leading UK drug and alcohol treatment charity that helps deliver the Resilience programme said: “The Foundation came to Addaction as they really wanted to get this right. They knew that if the Resilience programme was to work, it needed to be built on the best experience and expertise available. Then, and now, we’ve been hugely impressed with their commitment to addressing the lack of decent drug education in our schools – and how they have campaigned for more and more pupils to benefit from this effective and brilliant programme.”

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund added: “It is great to see these two charities coming together to set up an ambitious partnership that could transform, or in some cases, even potentially save young people’s lives. At the Big Lottery Fund we frequently work with organisations that deal with the fall out of substance misuse and it is true – prevention is better than cure, so we are very excited to be able to help this innovative project get off the ground.”

Further information

Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888
Out of hours media contact: 07867 500 572

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18001 plus 0191 376 1776

Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk
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Notes to Editors

  • *The 10 regional areas where the project will be delivered will be Barnsley, Bournemouth
    Brent, Derbyshire, Halton, Havering, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, Morecambe, and Preston.
  • The Big Lottery Fund, the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
  • The Fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since its inception in 2004 BIG has awarded close to £6bn.
  • The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
  • In the year ending 31 March 2013, 28% of total National Lottery revenue was returned to the Good Causes.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £31 billion has been raised and more than 400,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.