SBC News GambleAware partners with Expert Link to launch ALERTS network

GambleAware partners with Expert Link to launch ALERTS network

Responsible gambling advocacy charity GambleAware has appointed Expert Link to co-design its nationwide ‘ALERTS’ network.

GambleAware has provided funding for, ALERTS – which is an acronym for ‘Affected Lived Experience Research, Treatment and Support Group’ – for 18 months. The group will consist of people with lived experience of gambling harm.

The charity’s stated ambition is that the group will be ‘sustainable and completely independent, including identifying and applying for its own funding sources in the longer term.’

Additionally, the network will focus on equality, diversity and inclusion, with membership drawn from across the lived experience community, including those who are part of marginalised or underrepresented groups.

ALERTS will be driven by its membership, which will determine the priorities and governance arrangements, whilst Expert Link organises the start-up process.

Expert Link was chosen due to its experience in working with marginalised communities and those who have experienced social stigmatisation, as well as its knowledge and understanding of community mobilisation and network formation on social issues.

Once established, the network will aim to participate in and influence the national debate and policy making process regarding the gambling sector.

Alison Clare, Research Director, GambleAware commented: “We hope this new group will serve as a single, inclusive network that is representative of all people with lived experience of gambling harms across Great Britain. 

“We know there are other lived experience groups already out there doing good work in this area, and this new group will fill any gaps and reach those who are harder to engage with. 

“Our ambition is to see this independent network grow and develop so that it can help inform all aspects of the gambling debate, from policy and regulation, to research, treatment and prevention.”

Furthermore, as well as providing advice, the network will scrutinise existing treatment services and provide system-wide advice to both GambleAware, the National Gambling Treatment Service (NGTS) and the National Clinicians Network Forum.

Three priority areas have been identified for discussion by the network:

  • Ways to increase accessibility of treatment services by identifying barriers to entry;
  • How to improve equity of access to treatment and ensure it is representative of all those who experience harm;
  • Improving links between treatment services and other parts of the system.

Discussing the network’s launch and aims, Ruth Champion, Commissioning Manager at GambleAware, said: “In order for us to ensure that the treatment services we commission are what people want and need, but also effective in preventing and reducing gambling harms, we must ensure the voices of people with lived experience are heeded.”

“The group is already contributing to existing work which builds on the peer support system which is available through the National Gambling Treatment Service. I welcome the establishment of this new group and look forward to working with them to develop further the treatment and support that people need for gambling harms.”

GambleAware recently hosted its eighth annual conference, featuring guest speakers such as the charity’s Chair Kate Lampard and Labour MP for Nottingham North and Shadow Minister for Public Health Alex Norris.

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