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Care experienced journalist Sophia Hall spoke to Annie Gibbs, Founder of Amour Destiné about her care experienced led project and why they do what they do.

Why did you start Amour Destiné?

Amour Destiné was formed because of losing my mother at the age of 8 years old, and the experience of learning to push past my own challenges in life, growing up in the UK care system.

My desire was to build on my late mother’s legacy and create a support service for women born of African and Caribbean heritage to break through barriers. It had bothered me throughout life when thinking about the struggles my mother faced during childhood, being passed from service to service because of her Malian heritage, encountering language barriers as she could not speak English. As a survivor of domestic abuse with no family in the UK, my mother did not have a supportive network to fall on.

Unfortunately, the difficulties that my mother faced many years ago are still apparent today. My mission is to ensure that any woman with access to Amour Destiné does not feel isolated and unsupported like my mother did.

What’s your aim and who do you support?

Amour Destiné aims to improve the health & wellbeing of black women & girls affected by social economic status to overcome traumatic care experiences and/or of abuse. By equipping and empowering them with free services and tools we help them develop confidence and self-belief to live out their ambitions to succeed in life. The project is led by inspiring black & black mixed-race women with similar experiences.

Women can also access free advocacy support from Amour Destiné, to address the various challenges they may be facing such as no recourse to public funds, family law access and mediation.

Why is mentorship important?

Mentorship is so important. Mentors act as rainbows in the clouds, life role models, that take you by the hand and guide you to your light with a genuine interest in helping you to unpack the tools that you already have within. They inspire the way you might live and make choices for yourself and help you unlock the potential you may not see within yourself.

Whether you are a young person or adult. Everyone in life would benefit from having support from a mentor. I even have a mentor.

Can you tell me a bit more about the Destiny Creator Mentoring programme?

The Destiny Creators Mentoring programme (DCMP) supported by The Government in partnership with the National lottery Community Fund. The DCMP offers free access to educational wellbeing, skills-building workshops, and more.

It runs on a weekly basis for 6 months and consist of a combination of group virtual and face-to-face workshops in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Lambeth and surrounding boroughs.

The Destiny Creators Mentoring Programme is currently open to receive referrals to join the waiting list for our next programme starting in April 2021.

You will need to submit your interest to refer/join by emailing [email protected]. We aim to respond to submissions by email within 3-5 working days.

What other resources do you offer?

Amour Destine also offers support to assist you on various problems such as:

The Advocacy Service may also support after assessing your needs, to help you at meetings, liaise with organisations on your behalf, arrange and facilitate mediations to find solutions to your problem.

We are also passionate about advocating for improved quality and access to personal development and wellbeing services. This includes providing free access to counselling support with a BACP certified counsellor.

During the pandemic we also started to distribute food parcels to those experiencing financial hardships supported by fare share, The Greenwich foodbank and donations from members of the community.

We also have a podcast series called Destiny Creators having open conversations with inspiring people, that are embracing their now on various paths in life and doing what they love. They share their experiences and challenges, as well as their thoughts on different topics ranging from business to entertainment, sexual health, religion, politics, and all things about life as they know it. All with the aim to inspire you the listeners, to create your own destiny!

How can people get involved or support your group?

Amour Destiné have a range of opportunities to support our work from volunteering to partnering with us.

Volunteers can work directly with our women delivering workshops, gain administration experience through supporting us and help with fundraising.

If you are thinking of getting involved, do not hesitate to get in touch with us by submitting your interest by emailing [email protected] to see how your skills could be of help to our projects.  We are a very dynamic team, always happy to welcome dedicated people, motivated to make a difference!

You can also support our work by purchasing one of our Destiny Creator hand painted African print boxes to gift to a member of the service. There are 3 colours to chooses from. The inside is also painted.  You can purchase one online via the Amour Destine etsy shop. Please use the reference IMO Hub so we know where the gift is from.

Follow Amour Destiné on Twitter and Instagram

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