Lee Willows has ended his seven-year tenure as Founder and Chief Executive of YGAM – The Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust.
This morning YGAM issued a statement confirming that Willows would be leaving the charity at the end of the month.
A former teacher, Willows founded YGAM in 2014 with lived experience partners Anne and Keith Evans, establishing the charity as the UK’s first dedicated youth-focused education programme, raising awareness of gambling-harms and compulsive behaviours at formative ages.
Willows stewardship saw YGAM launch its education programme across schools in England and Wales, with its directive supported by Youth organisations, the Metropolitan Police and Premier League football clubs.
The success and impact of YGAM projects saw the charity identified as a core RET provider by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) helping strengthen its National Strategy to reduce gambling-related harms.
Commenting on his departure, Willows said: “It has been a privilege to lead this amazing charity for seven incredible years. With the endless support and dedication of my co-founders Anne and Keith Evans, I have been on an extraordinary personal journey, and I feel extremely proud of what we and the staff team have achieved together.
“In 2014, I was determined to use my experiences of gambling harm to create a positive force for good and focus our efforts on evidence-led education and prevention. We have since developed a portfolio of award-winning programmes that are now helping to safeguard young people in every region of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.”
“This is a special charity and one that has exciting plans for the future. I will always passionately support the exceptional staff team and I look forward to seeing what they can achieve next.”
Willows stated that YGAM had entered its ‘third strategic cycle’, in which the charity will expand its safer gambling training services with BetKnowMore UK.
Chief Operating Officer Helen Martin will take on leadership responsibilities until YGAM’s Board of Trustees elects a new CEO to replace Willows.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the staff team, I would like to thank Lee for the tremendous efforts and passion that he has devoted to the charity,” remarked Mike Wojcik, Chair of YGAM.
“Lee has achieved so much for this sector and has established an organisation that is making a real difference. He leaves the YGAM in the strongest position to continue our progress and achieve our mission to educate and safeguard future generations”.