Sophia Kichou is now blogging for the Amy Winehouse Foundation. Here are a few words about her:
‘I was once a young person living at Centrepoint, and have been a member of the Centrepoint Youth Parliament for 3 years, which has involved working with MP’s and several national campaigns. I recently won Best News Coverage of the year at the Creative Diversity Network Awards for my piece raising awareness about youth homelessness. I am currently a full time student studying Journalism at City University.
‘Through this blog I hope to tell the stories of those who wouldn’t usually be given a voice, and to raise awareness about the plight facing vulnerable young people affected by homelessness and substance misuse. I will also tell you about all the cool things that the Amy Winehouse Foundation are doing!’
MARKING CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS WEEK
The effects alcohol abuse can have go far beyond just having a drink. It can affect the people around you including close family and friends. Most importantly it can affect children. Today in the United Kingdom it is estimated that one in five children live with an alcoholic parent (www.coaweek.org).
Having grown up with an alcoholic father for part of my life, this is an issue that is close to me, and one that I can completely understand. It’s the embarrassment of friends coming over and your father shouting because he’s drunk, it’s the anger, resentment and confusion. Emotionally, it’s the experience of having to grow up faster than you should and having to take on bigger responsibilities.
This week, 11th – 16th February, marks ‘Children of Alcoholics Week’, which aims to raise awareness of children affected by parental alcohol problems, while also reminding all children living with an alcoholic parent that they are not alone. Children of Alcoholics Week (COA) is held internationally every year and is led by a campaign founded by the The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACOA).
COA Week supporter and Nacoa Patron, Elle McPherson, has said: “Without help these children become lost in the system; they grow up feeling un-noticed at best and abused at worst. Nacoa’s work is all about planning for a positive future – helping them to transform their negative beliefs about themselves into an ‘I can do’ attitude.”
NACOA run a phone and online service providing young people with information and a forum to speak to someone. They also provide one to one support, and deliver outreach programmes to schools in order to discuss this hidden issue and create more awareness for teachers and pupils.
As someone who has experienced life with an alcoholic parent, there is always the uncertainty of never knowing what you are going home to. It’s the not being listening to and never being heard. The children that are being supported by organisations such as NACOA are being listened to, and it’s important we don’t forget them.
Thanks for reading x
For any children or young people who may be affected by this issue, please remember the Six “C”s:
I didn’t cause it
I can’t control it
I can’t cure it
I can take care of myself
I can communicate my feelings
I can make healthy choices
HOMELESSNESS AND POVERTY ACTION WEEK HIGHLIGHTS THE ONGOING NEED FOR CENTREPOINT
Did you sleep well last night? It was pretty bloomin’ cold, windy and rainy out. I ask because last week was Homelessness and Poverty Action Week, which aims to not only change the perceptions of poverty and homelessness in the UK, but also hopes to make a real difference to homeless peoples lives.
Every night thousands of people are looking for somewhere to spend the night. A large number of them are hidden homeless. Sleeping on friends and families sofas or dossing on public transport. A growing number are aged between 16 and 25.
Often due to divorce or relationship breakdown, addiction and death, young people are made homeless way before they can marry, drink and before many of them have begun to live their lives. They’re made homeless through no fault of their own and recent changes to the welfare system are already having a negative impact on young people’s ability to access appropriate (if any) housing options.
One organization trying to make things easier for young homeless people is Centrepoint. This is the UK’s leading charity for young homeless people. What’s so special about what Centrepoint do? Not only do they give young people a home, but they nurture a young person by giving them skills, confident and support they need to go into the real world.
It costs money to provide such a level of support. As part of Centrepoint’s Health and Wellbeing team, the Amy Winehouse Foundation has funded £38,000 for a one-year Dual Diagnosis Specialist Worker, to provide focused intervention for young people aged 16-25 who experience problems in this area, allowing the team to integrate its current support work around substance misuse and mental health expertise.