News

Run the October London Marathon for Amber

Amber are delighted to announce that we were successful in the charity ballot for the Virgin London Marathon. We are now inviting interested people to apply for our one and only place and fundraise for our vital work housing and supporting disadvantaged young people grappling with homelessness and long term unemployment.

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Amber wins Wiltshire Life Award

The team at Amber in Wiltshire are thrilled to have been recognised for their invaluable work supporting local homeless and unemployed young people from their supported living centre, Bythesea Lodge, in the heart of Trowbridge. We were winners of the ‘Community Group of the Year’ Wiltshire Life award which celebrates community groups that make a worthwhile difference to the lives of Wiltshire residents.

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Amber to take part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge

We are thrilled to announce that Amber will be taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2020 an annual match funding campaign which raises millions of pounds for good causes across the country. This year the campaign will kick off on 1st December (Giving Tuesday) at midday and will run until midday on 8th December. Every donation made via the Big Give will be doubled until we reach our target of £70,000.

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Bed down in the back garden to help homeless young people in Eden’s Virtual Sleep Out

Fundraisers are being urged to sleep out in their own garden or even on their living room floor this November to help two South West charities. The youth homelessness charity, the Amber Foundation and St Petrocs a charity in Cornwall for single homeless people across the county. For the last six years, the Eden Project in Cornwall has hosted an annual Sleep Out outside the iconic glass Biomes, and the events have raised thousands of pounds for two homeless charities, the Amber Foundation which specialises in supporting young people and St Petrocs, a Cornish homeless charity based near the Eden Project. Government guidance due to the pandemic means that the mass Sleep Out cannot take place at Eden this year.  Instead, The Eden Project is inviting people to join in remotely on the night, November 19, 2020.  You can sleep in a tent, a homemade den or (if you are brave enough) under the stars. We are encouraging people to take part in the event with their family, school, workplace or even a (small) group of friends – just as long as they follow the current rules on social distancing! Organisers hope that because there is no limit on numbers, more money than ever will be raised at a time when the work of the charities are providing a lifeline to hundreds of homeless people. Participants in the Virtual Eden Sleep Out will be able enjoy content online to entertain them and inspire their fundraising.  Among the contributors on the night will be Mimi Beard, who became homeless aged 16 before turning her life around, author of The Salt... read more

The Amber Foundation – a quarter of a century in operation

This year marks 25 years since Amber first opened our doors to young people facing hard times. Amber begun at Tottenham House near Marlborough in Wiltshire, in 1995 and we now run three supported housing centres in the south and south – west of England. Over the last 25 years Amber has helped over 4000 people aged 17-30 with the majority leaving their troubled pasts behind them and moving on to bright independent futures. Barty Smith OBE, Amber’s founder and current chair, first became aware of the need for Amber after working in his business with several young people from the ‘Youth Opportunities Programme’ that gave unemployed school leavers the opportunity to engage in on the job training. Barty was struck by the lack of support for young people, their lack of aspiration and low self-esteem. He decided he wanted to do something that would help them rebuild their self-belief and help them to find a positive direction and focus for their future. Barty was able to secure a lease of Tottenham House near Marlborough where he personally welcomed the first Amber residents. Barty remembers the years the charity spent at Tottenham house fondly; “it was such a special time – the house helped enormously – it made such an impression on new residents, funders and visitors alike. I still remember the opening day and the start of what I call the Amber magic. It’s still with us today.” Amber continued to operate at Tottenham House until 2005 and in their first ten years opened a further centre in Devon at Ashley Court, Chawleigh near Crediton in July 2002... read more

Amber residents and staff in Wiltshire embrace the 2.6 challenge with a mini Olympics!

Bythesea Lodge, Amber’s Wiltshire centre, has staged a mini Olympics as part of the 2.6 Challenge, a new initiative from the organisers of the postponed London Marathon. The 2.6 initiative was launched because of the catastrophic effect the Covid-19 pandemic has had on charities. At a time where they are needed the most charities have seen the loss of billions in income through fundraising events alongside ballooning costs and rising demand. The Virgin Money London Marathon alone, which should have taken place on Sunday 26 April, is the world’s biggest one-day fundraising event, which raised more than £66.4 million for thousands of charities in 2019. As it cannot take place as planned, its organisers have created a ‘lockdown-friendly event’ which is easy for anyone to join in and make a difference, especially for smaller local charities. The Amber Foundation, like so many charities across the UK, has been hugely impacted by Covid-19. However, at this time of crisis, the charity has continued to house and support homeless and unemployed young people in the country at their centres in Wiltshire, Surrey and Devon ensuring that some of the most vulnerable in the country have a safe place to live throughout this pandemic. Residents and staff at the centre have really embraced the 2.6 initiative and have staged 26 challenges held over 5 days all hinged around the numbers 2, 6 and 26. The event featured a range of challenges so that as many residents as possible could get involved not just those interested in sports and fitness. The event kicked off with an egg and spoon race and a plank... read more

Amber wins Howard League award!

We are delighted that the Amber Foundation has won a Community Award from the Howard League for Penal Reform for the work we do with homeless young people to reduce re-offending.

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Construction Training for Amber residents in Devon

We’ve recently joined forces with Train4all to provide construction training and taster sessions for our residents, who have been grappling with homelessness or long term unemployment. Train4all are a leading provider of construction training in the South West with City and Guilds and Open College Network Approved Centres. Building on their success in Somerset, Train4All recently opened their North Devon Skills Centre in South Molton creating new training opportunities for young people in the North and Mid Devon areas. This summer a group of residents from Amber attended Train4All’s Enrolment Week which featured taster sessions and demonstrations in a wide variety of trades. There was also a chance to look round their new facilities and sign up to various courses including bricklaying, property maintenance, armed forces resettlement and programmes for those who are unemployed. Lewis, 22 who has been at Amber for 2 months said “I really enjoyed the day – being shown the proper technique for bricklaying was really cool. The trainers I spoke to were really helpful and supportive – giving me tips on how to get my CSCS card. I’ve signed up for the “Routeway 2 Construction” course and can’t wait to get started.”  The “Routeway 2 Construction” programme is delivered over 4 weeks and is an accessible way for unemployed people, interested in a career in the industry, to find out about routes into various trades. Kevin Ellis, Centre Manager at Ashley Court said “Getting our residents geared up for employment is a central part of what we do at Amber. Sustainable employment is key to maintaining independence after they move on from us. We are always... read more