Resilience Programme For Schools

The Amy Winehouse Foundation Resilience Programme is our groundbreaking drug & alcohol awareness and prevention programme for secondary schools. Evaluated by academics at Harvard University and delivered in partnership with Addaction, the programme is currently delivered in well over 100 schools across the UK.


In addition to this work, we are conducting a nationwide Prevalence Study, to determines the current levels of substance misuse among young people (including the use of Novel Psychoactive Substances, commonly known as ‘legal highs’),  You can find out more about the Prevalence Study here

Trained and accredited volunteers use their own experiences of substance misuse and recovery to educate students, parents and teachers about the real reasons why young people may misuse substances and what can be done to prevent it. These volunteers have all overcome significant personal issues and now live substance free lives, contributing to society and helping others to make wise and informed choices.

It is this approach – of putting real life experiences at the very heart of drug and alcohol education – that makes the Resilience Programme for Schools so effective. We engage students in discussing their real thoughts, feelings and behaviours. And we enable them to address issues such as low-esteem, poor body image, racism and bullying without turning to drugs or alcohol for ‘help’.

But the Programme isn’t just for pupils. We are clear that everyone in a young person’s life needs to be properly informed about drugs, alcohol and their related problems if we are to create an honest and open environment in which informed choices can be made. As part of the Programme, clinical staff from Addaction work alongside the Amy Winehouse Foundation to help teachers better identify pupils who may be living with parents, carers or siblings who are misusing substances. Research shows that these young people are most at risk of developing drug and alcohol problems themselves, later in life, and by supporting them as early as we possibly can, we have a better chance of preventing significant problems before they start.

The programme provides:

  • Parents’ evenings to inform parents about the underlying reasons for substance misuse, the range of substances currently in circulation, and to encourage them to have better communication with their children.
  • Sessions that incorporate real-life stories and ‘share sessions’ that provide a catalyst for further discussion around drugs and alcohol, as well as other issues (such as depression and self harm).
  • Groups that build resilience in students, covering issues such as self-esteem, peer pressure and risky behaviour.
  • Signposting to local treatment services.
  • By working together with Addaction we will empower the next generation to have the skills they need to make positive life choices.

And since beginning in 2014

  • Well over 100 schools have already signed up to the Programme
  • 70,000 students have attended assemblies where one of our team of 120 trained volunteers share their experiences and life-stories
  • 50,000 students have taken part in classroom workshops to discuss personal issues and to learn more about the risks associated with drug and alcohol misuse.
  • Over 5,000 teachers have received training around drug and alcohol issues, and how to better engage with students who may be at risk,

All of this work is currently being funded by the Big Lottery Fund, including a full Randomised Control Trial of the Programme. It is currently delivered in 10 locations around the UK including South Yorkshire, Bournemouth, Brent, Havering, Lincolnshire, Derby, Preston, Morecambe, Liverpool and Halton.

You can download a copy of our evaluation report into the programme ‘Real Life Experience: Results and Recommendations’ here.

What’s more, feedback from participants and schools alike has been exemplary:

‘In my previous school, although we had the police come in, there were no opportunities to open up of or be a part of a Q&A style workshop….. So thank you very much! Keep doing what you are doing! I’m sure many more teenagers will benefit from this!’
Kingsbury High School, London.

‘All of the students were sitting in silence and were totally absorbed by what was being said. The details that Brian (a volunteer on the Resilience Programme) gave about his life captured Year 11 and the questions they asked afterwards showed they had fully understood. They now know where they can go for help and advice, should they ever need it’.
Brett Barker, Form Tutor
Lincoln Castle Academy, Lincolnshire.

‘The best presentation I have seen from an outside agency in 10 years of being at the school’
Neil Kenyon, Director of Careers and Lifelong Learning.
Burscough Priory Science Academy, Lancashire

For more information on the programme, or for details on where we are currently working in the UK, email our team at