Bury St Edmunds: Amy Winehouse Foundation donates £30,000 to Focus 12 charity

Chip Somers, chief executive of Focus 12

Chip Somers, chief executive of Focus 12

A drug and alcohol rehabilitation charity has been boosted by a £30,000 donation from a foundation set up in the name of the late singer Amy Winehouse.

The Amy Winehouse Foundation, which was established by Amy’s father Mitch after her death in 2011, has given the cash to Focus 12, based in Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds.

Focus 12 chief executive Chip Somers said the donation would enable the charity to offer a greater service to young people.

He said: “We have had a relationship with the Amy Winehouse Foundation for some time – a few years – and they have been interested in trying to support us in working with younger people who have previously found it very difficult to access rehab funding so this is a great opportunity for us to be able to expand the work we are doing.”

He said young people were often not considered to be in a “bad enough state”, with agencies tending to concentrate on older adults on Class A drugs and those who have been using for a long time. “Our evidence is when you catch people at an early age and intervene in the right way the results are very good,” he said.

Mr Somers said with the £30,000 Focus 12 should be able to put about 10 people aged 18 to 30 through the three-month treatment programme.

He said the charity’s partnership with the Amy Winehouse Foundation had been growing in strength over the last few years.

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Mr Winehouse said in all of his travels Focus 12 was “one of the most outstanding facilities”.

He said: “Our mission statement is to help younger people and what we are talking about with Focus 12 is getting more people into recovery quicker.

“If we can spend a few thousand pounds on people’s initial rehab and move them towards work, then they are not going to be a blight on society.”

Amy died on July 23, 2011, aged 27. Her family launched The Amy Winehouse Foundation to prevent the effects of drug and alcohol misuse on young people.

For the last financial year Focus 12’s running costs were about £600,000.