Focus12 receives £30,000 grant from Amy Winehouse Foundation

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Bury St Edmunds rehab charity Focus12 has received a £30,000 grant from the Amy Winehouse Foundation.

Chief executive of Focus12 Chip Somers said the money would be used to help younger people who appeal for treatment but often do not get funding for rehab because they are considered too young to be ready for it.

“There are many people who, even though young, have reached a point where they recognise and know they need to stop using altogether and it’s difficult for them to access residential rehab, which is often reserved for people who have been using for many years and have medical issues,” he said, adding that young people were just as able to respond to abstinence-based treatment.

“They actually get the opportunity to rebuild a future and go on to college after and do things that are denied to more mature clients,” he said

Focus12 is ‘inundated’ with people who have been unable to get funding for residential treatments.

“We still maintain the possibility of accessing treatment with us without funding but the waiting list for that particular bit’s now over a year, which just emphasises how many people are waiting for treatment but aren’t able to get it from their local authorities,” said Mr Somers.

The Amy Winehouse Foundation was set up in September 2011 in memory of the popular soul singer who died in July of the same year. It aims to prevent the effects of drug and alcohol misuse on young people.

In February last year, while representing the Foundation, Amy’s father Mitch and his wife Jane officially opened Focus 12’s new therapy centre, The Annexe, which specialises in non-addiction related counselling services.

Mr Somers said: “We have developed a good working relationship with the Amy Winehouse Foundation over the last three years and we work well together. It’s been a growing partnership.

“They’re really pleased that they have somewhere they can refer young people who often approach the Amy Winehouse Foundation, knowing they’ll get rehab.”

He added: “Had Amy had intervention earlier in her life, she may well still be alive - that’s something they’re very conscious of. I think what they’re endeavouring to do now is maintain the Foundation in a way that will go on and be able to help young people many years from now.”

The generous grant was paid into the charity’s bank account this morning and is already being put to good use, with a young client set to benefit from it later today.