Amy Winehouse FoundationRenowned for her album “Back to Black,” Amy Winehouse skyrocketed to fame in the early 21st century as a British singer. Shortly afterward in 2011, Winehouse tragically died from alcohol poisoning at 27 years old. Her family created the Amy Winehouse Foundation in her memory to spread awareness about substance abuse and assist youth in need. Below are four ways the nonprofit organization helps poor communities in the U.K. and around the world.

  1. The foundation educates students about substance abuse. The nonprofit routinely gives educational talks in colleges and universities to spread awareness about substance abuse. Known as “Resilience Programmes,” these talks encourage students to make safe decisions, ask for help and better identify the signs of someone struggling with drugs and alcohol. To date, these talks have been conducted in more than 450 schools across the U.K. and have educated more than 350,000 students.
  2. The foundation houses young women in need. To help young women transition from rehabilitation centers to everyday life, the nonprofit offers housing opportunities to those in need. The foundation owns an apartment complex in London called “Amy’s Place” where “up to 16 young women” can live after leaving substance abuse treatment. This housing opportunity is important because it allows women to build a support network and help each other during difficult times. In 2019, the Amy Winehouse Foundation won the prestigious “Centre for Social Justice Award” for its impact with Amy’s Place.
  3. The foundation partners with other organizations to maximize its impact. To date, the nonprofit has partnered with the British organization Phoenix Futures to offer treatment programs to people in England, Wales and Scotland. Additionally, the foundation has partnered with another British organization called Addaction to spread awareness about prevention and treatment programs for alcohol abuse.
  4. The foundation helps poor communities in St. Lucia and Jamaica. Beyond the U.K., the nonprofit also offers programs and assistance to poor communities living in St. Lucia and Jamaica. More specifically, it funds music lessons for people struggling with addiction. These music lessons double as coping mechanisms to improve the well-being of participants. Additionally, music lessons are offered to disadvantaged youth as a way to expand their teamwork skills. The organization has helped more than 390 people in St. Lucia and Jamaica gain access to music lessons regardless of their socioeconomic status.

Overall, the Amy Winehouse Foundation has changed the lives of communities living in St. Lucia, Jamaica and the U.K. for the better. After listening to one of the foundation’s presentations, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, noted, “[I]t was exactly what we all needed to hear.”By sharing personal stories about substance abuse with others, the Amy Winehouse foundation normalizes these difficult conversations and provides people with much-needed coping strategies.

– Chloe Young
Photo: Flickr

Furniture Poverty
The U.K. has one of the fastest-growing populations in the world, but nearly 40% of citizens do not have access to basic items. Furniture poverty in the U.K. is prevalent with over 14 million families living without basic furniture or in fear of not being able to replace or repair an appliance. Children come home from school without a table to do homework at, parents leave a hard day’s work with no bed to come home to and families have no couch to spend time together on.

Social landlords and government authorities are beginning to work together to end furniture poverty in the U.K. and rehouse people in need. Until the U.K. hones policies to account for the low quality of living that comes with furniture poverty and work to help struggling families furnish their homes, several organizations have a commitment to getting these families the items they need to feel normal.

5 Organizations Ending Furniture Poverty in the UK

  1. End Furniture Poverty: End Furniture Poverty is an organization that the FRC group created, which has a dedication to raising awareness and eliminating furniture poverty in the U.K. FRC is a charity in Liverpool that has been working to reduce and eradicate furniture poverty for over 30 years. The organization’s goal is to provide basic comforts to all citizens and raise awareness of the prevalence of furniture poverty. Encouraging people to find new lives for their old furniture rather than send it to a landfill is a step in the right direction.
  2. R&R Beds: R&R Beds is a mattress manufacturer that prevents mattresses from being sent to landfills. Instead, the mattresses can go to families in furniture poverty or retailers can recycle them into high-quality mattresses and sell them at affordable prices. Every year in the U.K., over 7.5 million mattresses end up in landfills when millions of people go without beds to sleep on. R&R gives these materials new life. These mattresses give struggling families a sense of comfort and the gift of a good night’s sleep. R&R partners with recyclers, charities and social organizations to retrieve used mattresses and provide new ones to those most in need.
  3. Orbit Housing Association: Most residences discard all furniture that previous tenants leave behind. However, the Orbit Housing Association offers furnished tenancies and leaves certain items for new tenants to use such as curtains or carpets. By salvaging abandoned items rather than scrapping them, the association saves low-income families from living without furniture or diving into debt to furnish their homes. Keeping furniture for incoming tenants is cost neutral and reduces the workload of the company’s maintenance team. This practice allows them to provide these furnished residencies for an extremely low fee that goes on the tenant’s monthly rent.
  4. Homestore: A fixture in East London, this secondhand store has been providing affordable furniture to low-income families since 1989. People donate good quality furniture and white goods such as fridges and other large electrical appliances. By only selling to disadvantaged people, Homestore is a saving grace for many families living in discomfort. The average price of an item at a furniture store is $72.96. On the other hand, at Homestore, the average price is only $19.65 offering significant savings.
  5. Community Furniture Aid: Based in Wales, Community Furniture Aid is a charity that accepts second-hand furniture and uses it to create ‘starter packs’ for families that need furniture. Volunteers run the company and the company can minimize expenses to provide packs at no cost to the families. It even stores donated items in an unused church without utilities. This is an example of how it takes every possible step to provide families with comfort at no cost to them.

Ending furniture poverty in the U.K. may not be the foremost struggle in the world, but without a sturdy mattress or a working fridge, it becomes hard for people to lead normal lives and be successful. For example, many consider items like tables, couches, dressers, stoves and washing machines essential for people to feel comfortable in their homes. It gives them the confidence to pull themselves out of poverty.

– Veronica Booth
Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Period Poverty in the U.K.
Period poverty in the U.K. affects millions and the pandemic has exacerbated it. In 2017, research studies discovered that one in 10 girls in Britain could not afford period products. It also revealed that one in seven struggles to afford period products. Periods embarrass almost 50% of girls in the U.K. between the ages of 14 and 21. Meanwhile, one in seven have revealed that they do not know what happens when they have their period. Additionally, only one in five girls feels comfortable talking about their periods. In response to this, the nonprofit organization Bloody Good Period provides support for asylum seekers and refugees in the U.K.

What is Period Poverty?

Period poverty is a lack of access to period products and information on period products and menstruation. According to the charity Freedom4Girls, this issue affects more than 300 million around the world.

How Does Period Poverty Impact Asylum Seekers and Refugees?

Women who seek asylum in the U.K. receive 37.75 pounds ($52.90) a week to live on. This amount of money is not enough for women to live on or pay for monthly period products. Failed asylum seekers who cannot receive asylum support must rely on charities for their basic needs.

According to the Women for Refugee Women brief, 75% of the 78 women interviewed struggled to access period pads and tampons. These women had to overuse period products, improvise period wear or beg for money to pay for products. It is common for asylum-seeking women to have to choose to live without food or other basic needs to pay for period products. Period poverty makes it even more difficult for asylum-seekers to rebuild their lives.

What is Bloody Good Period?

Gabby Edlin started Bloody Good Period after helping refugee families at a London drop-in center. After learning that period products were not regularly passed out, Edlin questioned the logic. She started the organization with a simple Facebook message.

The organization takes a head-on approach to the issue, encouraging a simplistic approach that consults women on their period wants and needs. Bloody Good Period also works to start a conversation on periods to create a space where women do not feel ashamed of their period while reducing misinformation and increasing awareness. The organization is also partnering with The Body Shop, which funds education workshops on periods and menopause for refugees and asylum seekers.

Bloody Good Period’s Methods

Bloody Good Period’s partnership with The Body Shop has resulted in the donation of 10,000 packs to local charities and organizations for the homeless, women refugees, asylum seekers and refugees in the past year. The two organizations have been vital during the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2021, Bloody Good Period has provided supplies to food banks, created community support groups and granted support to people facing domestic violence. It has also worked to aid asylum seekers, refugees and homeless shelters. The charity provided 53,000 products since the pandemic and 700 packs of menstrual products in March and April 2020. While Bloody Good Period has supplied a high number of products, the demand has been even higher during the pandemic.

Bloody Good Period’s work is necessary to fight period poverty in the U.K. Continuous support is always necessary, especially during the pandemic, because “periods don’t stop in a pandemic,” said Bloody Good Period’s founder Gabby Edlin.

– Nyelah Mitchell
Photo: Unsplash