Vote for Amber and give young people a temporary home and a hope for a better, brighter future.

Posted on 01 Jan 2023 by Emily Atkinson-Dalton
This January the Amber Foundation are taking part in the Discount Promo Codes charity poll, in the hopes of being the charity to win 20% of our profits for the month. 

Amber houses and supports young people grappling with complex challenges; namely homelessness, long term unemployment and mental ill health. Their first supported housing centre opened in 1995 and since then the charity has grown to operating four centres with space to house over 100 young people.

Operating from locations in Devon, Wiltshire, Surrey and Kent Amber accepts young people aged 16-30 from across the country. Referrals can come from anyone; statutory agencies, other charities, concerned family or friends and young people themselves. 


The Causes of Youth Homelessness

Young people turn to Amber for a variety of reasons but common triggers are; family breakdowns, leaving care, abusive relationships, prison release or losing a private tenancy. However most are also dealing with the impact of tumultuous childhoods, with many having experienced the care system. Others have struggled after a traumatic event e.g. the sudden death or a parent. Some have made a few mistakes but because they lack the right guidance their lives rapidly spiral out of control. Last year the charity’s admissions figures showed that;

  • 70% left school with no formal qualifications

  • 56% have a criminal conviction

  • 69% have experienced substance abuse issues

  • 79% have a mental health diagnosis/issues


Amber’s Approach and Impact

Amber staff know that young people need so much more than a bed, hot water and three meals a day to turn their lives around. Every young person who comes to an Amber centre receives personalised support to help them identify what is standing in their way and they follow a carefully structured abstinence based development programme consisting of the following four strands.

  • Health and wellbeing; supporting young people to care for their mental and physical health.

  • Employment readiness; for example sessions on functional skills, team work and problem solving. They also work with local organisations and employers to facilitate sector specific training. 

  • Independent Living; encompassing all the key skills for living independently e.g. budgeting, cooking, cleaning and tenancy management. 

  • Personal Development; supporting young people to develop healthy hobbies and interests, improving social skills plus encouraging and facilitating volunteering both individually and in groups.

This helps each individual get into good routines, identify their strengths and set themselves achievable goals.

Despite the adversity the young people have faced Amber staff know that with the right care and attention they can move forward positively with their lives often needing a stay of only around 6-9 months. 

Every year around 70% of the young people at Amber move on successfully to a safe, sustainable home plus a job, a place in education or having achieved a major goal (for example achieving a level 2 or higher qualification). 


Jake’s Story 

Jake became street homeless aged 20 following a break up. He was unable to see his daughter which led him to use harder and harder drugs to escape. Jake’s mental health deteriorated rapidly resulting in him being sectioned.

“It was the staff at the hospital who suggested Amber. At first I wasn’t sure I’d be able to go but when they did accept me I was so relieved I actually cried down the phone. The day I arrived I was blown away by what support there was available.”

While at Amber Jake felt really supported by the staff “they have been hugely helpful and are always willing to talk. They have also helped me get in a routine and attending programme sessions on how to lead a normal life have been really good.”

Jake had some real problems with angry outbursts when he arrived but he worked with the staff team to find ways to cope in a positive way. He has also, importantly, learnt it was possible to have fun while clean and sober.

“I don’t really think I laughed or smiled at all in the months before coming here- not properly anyway. But here I’ve had lots of good times and times I’ve laughed so hard.”

When he arrived at the centre Jake’s self-esteem was really low “I basically felt my life was at a dead end but now I am over 200 days clean and I actually feel proud of what I’ve achieved. It feels weird saying it because I never thought I’d be proud of myself but I really am. None of this would be possible without Amber. I really think Amber is the only place which gives young people a real proper start in life. Coming here has been the best thing to happen to me. Without it I really think I’d be dead”. 

Jake moved on after a 7 month stay into a room in a shared house and a job in a warehouse. He recently got back in touch with Amber to let the staff know that has got a job as a support worker for young people facing similar problems to what he did. Jake wanted to share his story because he thinks it could help other young people.

“My story shows that anything can happen - this time last year I was at Amber and now I am a support worker myself and I am the happiest I have ever been.

 “I can’t actually thank the Amber team enough. If they hadn’t been there for me I wouldn't be here. I’m still drug free, in a flat of my own and working full time… Sorry for getting soppy but I won’t ever forget the amazing people at Amber who helped me... they are the reason I wanted to do this job!”


How Can I Support Amber? 

This January you can help Amber get a donation at no cost to you by voting for them in the Discount Promo Codes charity poll. 

You can also make one off or regular donations to the charity via their website

Donations can also be made via a mobile by texting AMBERUK + £Amount to 70085.


How Can I Get in Touch with Amber? 

More information about the charity including how to make a referral can be found on their website

The charity are also active on social media so connect with them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn

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