Prominent responsible gambling charities YGAM and GamCare have exceeded the first year targets for the Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme.
The joint initiative – supported by the Betting and Gaming Council – has been launched in all regions of England and Wales and has expanded education and support services for young people in Northern Ireland, whilst both organisations work closely with Scottish agencies.
YGAM’s data shows that the charity trained 2,906 practitioners in 2020, well above its initial target of 2,592. These practitioners in turn have provided educational sessions to 184,700 young people, surpassing the set goal of 170,300.
Meanwhile, GamCare has exceeded its training targets by almost 3,000, having taught 4,185 professionals working with young people as well as delivering educational workshops to 3,947 young people.
Furthermore, the charity has established a round-the-clock national young people’s support service, offering information, advice and tailored support to young people struggling with gambling addiction or who have close friends and relatives facing similar problems.
Anna Hemmings, Chief Executive of GamCare, said: “Both GamCare and YGAM believe passionately that education on the risks associated with gambling and gaming is an essential part of tackling harms for young people and increasing their digital resilience overall.
“I am particularly proud of the team considering the circumstances in which this has been achieved. The pandemic has proved a huge challenge, yet our teams have continued to deliver great engagement with professionals and young people. We’ve also developed a dedicated support service tailored to the needs of young people.
“For any young person worried about gambling, the service is free, flexible and confidential, and will ensure that each young person receives the most appropriate support for them. We’ve had overwhelming support from those we’ve trained.”
The workshops were delivered as a result of the digital transformation of the resources of both charities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
GamCare has also developed an e-learning platform as part of a blended educational package, whilst YGAM’s newly launched ‘Parent Hub’ provides free resources, information and activities to families, in order to protect children from gambling and betting-related harm.
“I am extremely proud of the enormous success we have already seen from the programme,” stated Lee Willows, Chief Executive and Founder of YGAM.
“As 2020 unfolded, we saw the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as an invitation to develop YGAM’s digital capacity in all areas of our work. Although this was done as a response to the crisis, the effect has been significantly advantageous for our education programme.
“The programme is reaching more communities in more regions and this fantastic progress will continue in the following years.
“Now that the delivery is entirely digital, we have removed enormous barriers which may have prevented some individuals and organisations from taking part. The programme is reaching more communities in more regions and this fantastic progress will continue in the following years.”
Linda Scollins-Smith, Head of the National Education Programme for YGAM, added: “We are delighted with the progress over the last year. Our success is testament to the excellent team – most of whom began during lockdown – and the relationships we have with our partner schools and organisations.
“We were able to adapt quickly to move our offer online, ensuring we provide teachers and professionals with the tools to inform, educate and safeguard young people in relation to gaming and gambling and the potential risks.
“We’ve had overwhelming support from those we’ve trained and we will be working together to ensure children and young people have the support and information needed.”
The charities aim to work with a minimum of 13,2492 practitioners and partner organisations by 2024.