Amy Winehouse Foundation workshops

Resilience, self-esteem and peer pressure are issues being explored by Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy students during workshops with the Amy Winehouse Foundation.

The sessions are being held at the academy as part of the foundation’s ground-breaking Resilience Programme and will continue into the New Year along with workshops for staff and parents. Students in Years 9 and 10 have been looking at the underlying issues that cause drug and alcohol abuse and discussing alternative coping strategies.

Shona Sutherland, Resilience Programme Coordinator for Derbyshire for the Amy Winehouse Foundation, said the sessions had been going well.

She said: “Everyone has been really engaged and so far the students have been very positive.

“We look at a range of issues surrounding self-esteem, peer pressure and risky behaviour.

“For example, we might ask them what they would do in a certain situation such as if they were at a party and they needed a lift home but the person offering the lift had been drinking.

“We look at negative and positive behaviours and coping strategies. We want them to think about being around positive people, feeling that they are able to ask for help, having hobbies and being kind to themselves and others.”

Andy Ritchie, Learning for Life co-ordinator at Saint John Houghton CVA, said the workshops had been a great success.

He said: “The workshops delivered by the Amy Winehouse Foundation aim to build resilience in students.

“Having spoken to some of the pupils, the workshops have gone down really well and have been enjoyable.

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“One Year 9 student said it was very informative and they got a perspective about issues they may have to deal with now and when they are older. Another student told me they found out where to go for help in case they may need it. Another student told me that they learnt the after-effects of drugs.

“I feel the workshops have been a big success and been really engaging for our students. We will look forward to continuing or partnership with the foundation over the next year with parents’ evenings, staff training and a Skills for Change programme which will target pupils that may have low self-esteem or are at risk.”

Trained and accredited volunteers from the Amy Winehouse Foundation 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.