Wanted to take a moment to update you on the launch of ‘Amy’s Place’ and recent developments.
The Amy Winehouse Foundation has partnered with a housing provider to open a home for women recovering from alcohol and drug addiction, on the fifth anniversary of Amy’s death.
Known as Amy’s Place, the recovery house, which will be in operation from Monday, is based in east London and aims to help recovering female addicts reintegrate into society and sustain their recovery. It will be made up of 12 self-contained apartments, four of which are two-bed, and can house up to 16 women.
Our special project director Dominic Ruffy at the Amy Winehouse Foundation, explained the reasoning and details to the Guardian on why we have set up Amy’s Place. The general lack of women-specific services for addiction treatment in the UK, despite research showing that women have a far greater chance of relapse without such support needed addressing.
Read more on the project and excerpt from from The Guardian piece below:
“There are about six women-only rehabs, and beyond that, there’s an even greater paucity of women-specific recovery housing beds,” he said. “There is only one other women-only recovery house in London and it’s only a four-bed with a six-month waiting list.”
Ruffy, who has been in recovery himself, said while traditional rehab was usually made up of detoxification and intensive psychological treatment, a recovery house was a safe place for people to come out of treatment and be reintegrated into society, with support workers to help guide them.
“Picture a person who is 14 years old, has come from a broken home, hasn’t engaged at school, ends on a path of addiction and winds up at 25-26 years old going to rehab, learning how to get clean, and then leaving rehab and being told to get on with it. It can be as simple as not knowing how to go about getting your benefits or engaging in college.
“Our experience shows if you give people an extended period of time post-traditional rehabilitation treatment, you will improve the percentage of people who stay clean [in the] long term. We have a saying in recovery that the drink and drugs aren’t our problem, it’s living life clean and sober.”
Residents at Amy’s Place will be supported using a “co-production model”, which gives them shared control over the services that aid their recovery. To come up with the programme, the foundation consulted several women at the women-only rehab centre Hope House in south London, who described what their perfect recovery house would look like in terms of activities, workshops, personal development pathways and length of stay. Together, they created a three-month programme for new residents of Amy’s Place, which includes holistic activities such as yoga, relapse prevention groups, and potential skills and employability based workshops.
Laura, 35, a former heroin addict and mother of three, is planning to move to the east London centre after an upcoming stint in rehab. She told the Guardian: “I think it’s really important to have a place like this when you’re in recovery. It’s a new experience to come off drugs. Some people suffer from anxiety, some people suffer from other stuff, and it’s reassuring to have some support and help with finding a home and getting a job, getting back into normal routine life, which you didn’t have before as a drug addict. You have to learn it all as new.”
Laura said an all-women’s home would give her time to concentrate on herself, adding: “There are no men around, no distractions to help you run away.
“My aim is to be drug-free and to get back into life, and deal with my underlying issues that made me want to use drugs in the first place. I really want to leave this chapter of my life behind and start a new future with my kids and husband-to-be.”
Ruffy said it was important to have women-only recovery houses because “women tend to come into recovery with a host of complex issues, whether that’s physical, mental or psychological abuse”.
He said the foundation’s consultation with women in rehab showed that they all preferred a women-only house because “they wanted to ensure they were either safe and away from ex-partners, or safe from their issues around co-dependency, around men … It was evident there was a clear need and the women would feel more secure in an environment [where] they knew they weren’t going to be troubled by aspects from their past.”
Amy Winehouse died aged 27 in July 2011 from accidental alcohol poisoning. The foundation was set up by her family following the singer’s death, and works to prevent young people misusing alcohol and drugs, as well as to support disadvantaged young people to help them fulfil their potential. It has set up Amy’s Place with the help of Centra Care and Support, part of not-for-profit organisation Circle Housing, one of the UK’s largest providers of affordable housing.
Michelle Davies, the London regional director of Centra Care and Support, said: “We want to empower young women to remain in control of their recovery by providing safe and secure homes, personalised services and a vibrant community that will build on their strengths, experiences and preferences.”
Jane Winehouse of the Amy Winehouse Foundation said: “This project will make such a profound difference to so many young women, enabling them to have a safe environment in which to rebuild their lives and put into practice all the learning they have acquired through their treatment journey. Fresh starts are difficult to make, full of challenges, but at Amy’s Place, we will give young women the tools and support to help make this a reality.”