GambleAware has invested £2.5 million to expand The Gambling Education Hub Service (GEHS) to span across England and Wales.
The grant has been issued to safer gambling charity GamCare working alongside education partners YGAM and the Adferiad Recovery to expand GEHS programmes.
Following a successful pilot in Scotland, GEHS – which helps prevent gambling harms among young people through early intervention and education – resulted in 92% of practitioners from the Scottish Hub saying they felt confident in identifying the signs of gambling harm, compared to just 35% pre-training.
Further positive feedback saw more than 8-in-10 young Scottish participants acknowledge that they were more aware of the consequences of gambling and 84% felt confident about where to turn to for support if needed.
“At a time when young people are increasingly exposed to gambling, the delivery of local-focused programs for gambling education and prevention of harms has never been more important,” said Zoë Osmond, CEO at GambleAware.
“We hope to see the positive short-term impacts from the Scottish Education Hub’s activities replicated in our newly commissioned English and Welsh Education Hubs, and we are excited to have awarded this grant to these two highly experienced organisations.”
The expansion of GEHS will be led by GamCare, which aims to build on the success of the Scottish pilot that delivered gambling education to almost 3,000 professionals and volunteers working with young people, as well as young people themselves, parents, and carers.
As project lead, Gamcare will work with YGAM, ARA, Aquarius, Beacon, Breakeven and Neca to carry out the work in England, and by Adferiad Recovery, which will carry out the work in Wales.
Anna Hemmings, Chief Executive of GamCare, said: “We are looking forward to building on the successes of our work with young people, their parents and professionals in a new programme aimed at increasing visibility of both local and national education and support, and to working with GambleAware and our partners towards our shared aspiration of reducing gambling-related harms for young people.”
“We are delighted to be receiving this grant to deliver gambling education hubs across England. We work in collaboration with a number of organisations who bring unparalleled experience of working with young people around these issues, including; Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM), Addiction Recovery Agency (ARA), Aquarius, Beacon, Breakeven and Neca, to deliver Education Hubs across England.”
GambleAware’s investment in GEHS aims to expand the youth education programme’s reach across all communities to ensure peak engagement at a local level “in a way that central Government sometimes cannot”.
The expansion of GEHS support was deemed critical, as British youth “are increasingly exposed to easily accessible gambling through the growth of online gaming and social media.”
Of significance, GambleAware research published in 2020 showed that 94% of 11-17-year-olds in Great Britain had been exposed to gambling adverts in the last month, seeing six adverts on average. This data directly led to recent caps and restrictions imposed on industry advertisers to further curb their appeal to children and youths.
Leon Marsh, Director of Hospital & Residential Services at Adferiad Recovery, said: “We look forward to working with GambleAware on this great initiative to help reduce gambling-related harm caused to young people and to provide comprehensive training, education and resources to key stakeholders to reduce the risks associated with gambling addiction.”
“We were delighted to hear that we had been selected to be the providers of Wales’s Gambling Education Hub and are looking forward to replicating the success of the project currently being undertaken in Scotland.
“Our extensive knowledge and experience in young people services puts us in a good position to be able to effectively deliver this project in Wales, and we are excited to be able to offer young people this valuable service.”