Amy’s Place

April 2022
Photos by Chazz Adnitt

Set up by Amy’s family in 2012, registered charity The Amy Winehouse Foundation works to prevent the effects of drug and alcohol misuse on young people. With the help of British housing provider Clarion, they have set up Amy’s Place – a recovery home for young women overcoming addiction. We speak with two residents about their journey so far and what makes Amy’s Place so special.

Just off a main road, on a quiet street in East London, there’s a small block of flats behind a cheerful red door. Inside you’re greeted with a white board of inspirational quotes, a cosy chill out space and a music room with instruments surrounding a painted portrait of Amy Winehouse. Out the back, the garden is an oasis of calm, with bunting, garden furniture and a BBQ – which I’m told gets used a lot in the warmer months.

This is Amy’s Place. A recovery house for young women aged 18 to 30, who are overcoming drug and alcohol addiction. One of the only projects in the country to bridge the gap between addiction treatment and independent accommodation, Amy’s Place is a safe space for women to find their feet and get the support they need to thrive.

To find out more about Amy’s Place and what makes it so unique, we meet with two residents – Amber and Kelly. Here are their stories.

Amber, Amy's Place
Amber, Amy's Place
In your own words, what is Amy’s Place?

Amber: Amy’s Place is a safe home for women in recovery. Although it provides independent living, there’s a real sense of community here and I'm always only a few steps away from support if I'm struggling. I felt like I've spent my whole life on the run so it’s really amazing to finally be able to be safe enough to settle down and call a place my home.

Kelly: It’s a community of women who can support and pick each other up when you can’t do it for yourself. For many women this is the first time they’ve ever felt safe and it really gives you a chance to stop running. I guess for me it was just the first time that I was able to breathe. This is the first time I’ve ever felt safe in my life, which has been life-changing to be honest.

How did you end up at Amy’s Place?

Amber: I struggled with addiction since I was around 12/13. I was introduced to drugs quite early and they just took over my life. It very quickly became a problem and it was like my escape. I found the world and life too painful and drugs gave me a way out. It was my solution for a long time and then it very quickly became a problem. My addiction escalated and I was trapped in this vicious cycle of institutions. I just couldn’t really see a way out of it. It got worse and worse to a point where I really didn’t want to live.

I went to rehab when I was 16, but I was kind of forced there, so obviously it didn’t work. And then for years after that I was just in and out of institutions – prison, rehab, psychiatric wards. The last time I went to rehab, I was sent by my boss who wanted to help. It was the first time I engaged properly with recovery. I then heard about Amy’s Place in AA meetings and I referred myself.

Kelly: I grew up not understanding how to deal with my emotions or process my feelings. I’ve been through quite a lot of trauma in my life including bullying in school, suffering from mental, physical and emotional abuse and more. Growing up, you don’t really know how to deal with those emotions or situations, so they get bottled up. When you go through traumatic experiences, your brain can’t process them properly which is why you end up continuously reliving the events in your head. I ended up getting involved with drugs and alcohol from a young age and later down the line being diagnosed with several mental health issues. Drugs were an escape for me until they started to control and ruin my life.

After trying to clean myself for years through counselling, drug treatment services and other support, it got to a breaking point and I couldn’t do it anymore. I went to rehab last year followed by secondary care then to a mixed-gender sober house. After going to AA meetings for a few months, I met one of the girls from Amy’s Place and we just clicked straight away. She recommended this place and that’s how I ended up here.

What support do you get at Amy’s Place?

Amber: I honestly feel like Amy’s Place has saved my life. We live in a block of flats with 16 women, all in recovery, so I’m constantly surrounded by people on the same journey as me. Something that I’ve found really helpful is that we have a check in every day for half an hour. You come down and you just check in with yourself and each other. I find that so useful - just to take a moment to recognise where I’m at. We get both emotional support and practical support here. I want to get back into education and people here can signpost me to the right places. I’ve also been able to access support to develop and expand my own business - RE•SOURCED VINTAGE – which has been invaluable. Addiction is such an isolating disease but there’s just a real sense of community here. Real sense of belonging. And I’ve never had that.

Kelly: The support I’ve had here has been life-changing. When I first came here I was erratic and I didn’t really know how to step forward. I had all these walls up and wasn’t letting anyone in. I think I’d been on that survival mode for so long and it actually inhibited me from progressing further, but I know now that it’s ok to lean on people and that’s what this place has taught me.

As well as regular therapy sessions here, they offer art therapy and sound therapy, I’ve also had access to a business mentor and business grants. A big thing I have done here is develop my own business – KG Garms – which has been amazing. I’m creating my own streetwear brand which will be released in August this year and I’ll also be donating some of the profits to charity, just to give back.

What makes Amy’s Place so special or unique?

Amber: I’ve never really heard of anywhere like this. It is to my knowledge, the only thing that does exist that’s like this. You just feel held here. You feel really supported. It’s given me a new life and I’m so grateful to be here.

Kelly: The fact that it’s a women’s only place. When you come in, you’re so vulnerable. A lot of people are still really sick and occasionally people do prey on the vulnerable in these places which is something I learnt at the last recovery home. You can be here for up to two years and then they help you find housing after that. To have my own space is all I’ve ever wanted, and I sleep really well here because I know I’m going to be safe.

Kelly, Amy's Place
Kelly, Amy's Place
What advice would you give to someone at the start of their recovery?

Amber: It’s going to be tough, but just keep fighting through. It does get easier and it does get better and there will be lots of ups and downs but the one thing that I did was just keep fighting, even when I relapsed, I just kept fighting on. Never give up hope. Even on your darkest days, there is light. It may not always feel like that, but it does get easier.

Kelly: Take it day by day. Sometimes you even have to take it minute by minute. Meetings are also really important – but you need to find the right meeting for you. Find your people.

One thing I found really hard was removing myself from my old life. But you do need to take a step back, even if it’s not forever. Now I can go out with my friends and they can drink around me and I’ve realised that I’m so much more fun when I don’t drink. I didn’t think I’d ever get there - I thought I would be too triggered, or it would be too hard. I guess it’s just coming to terms with the fact that you can’t use normally. I think it’s just about surrounding yourself with the right people.

How do you think Amy would feel about the legacy she has left?

Amber: I think she’d be proud of all the work that goes on here. I guess something positive has come out of something really tragic. We’re getting the help that maybe she didn’t have access to.

Kelly: I think she’d be quite overwhelmed honestly, the amount of lives she’s saved. So many women here have been through such traumatic experiences and they get the support they desperately need here. It’s really hard to put into words how grateful I am for this place. It’s lifechanging. This place has literally given me my life back.

To find out more about the Amy Winehouse Foundation and the incredible work they do, head to their website –

We continue to collaborate with the Amy Winehouse Foundation, donating to the registered charity with each collection, supporting their vital work.

Amy Winehouse Foundation, Registered charity no. 1143740 (England and Wales).