Hi, I’m Amber, I run Amber Lights in Oxford alongside my full-time job. I’m Oxford, born and bred and live in Oxfordshire with my husband Chris and our dog Ruby. I have recently been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Kings Birthday Honours (June 2023) for my work with Amber Lights, which I am absolutely delighted over!
I founded Amber Lights in Oxford in 2019 to give back to Homeless Oxfordshire in my sisters memory and also create a space that tackles the stigma of addiction and homelessness.
I found that when supporting Hannah, I was at a loss at what to do. I was not aware of the help available or how best to support her during those times. The stigma attached to homelessness also made it harder for me to seek help.
Going forward, I wanted this to change and highlight the ever increasing issue of homelessness, which led to Amber Lights in Oxford being created.
Amber Lights in Oxford has been created in memory of my sister Hannah. A big sister who never failed to make me laugh and was always there when I was struggling either with the biggest of hugs or with one of her one hit singing wonders. Hannah had a wonderful caring personality and would often take people under her wing.
In late 2015 through to 2017, Hannah’s struggles with alcohol addiction saw her seek the help of multiple homeless charities within Oxfordshire including Homeless Oxfordshire. During this time, she sought comfort from the services they provided and began to rebuild her life. Hannah passed away in 2017.
The name Amber Lights in Oxford was chosen as a link to shining a light on homelessness in Oxford.
In Hannah’s memory, Amber Lights in Oxford was set up to support Homeless Oxfordshire and the fantastic work they do.
Homeless Oxfordshire are the largest supported accommodation provider for homeless people in Oxfordshire. Each night they accommodate over 200 people. Alongside this, they provide day services, hot food, clothing, toiletries and welfare facilities to over 550 individuals who access their services throughout the year.
Hannah is everything this project stands for and the reason it was created. Her strength through losing everything, coping on the streets and at the end of it all, she was still determined to build herself back up. It is something I will always be in awe of.
Hannah was the ultimate tonic to your life and I was honoured to have her as my big sister.