GambleAware and Citizens Advice to tackle gambling harm
GambleAware and Citizens Advice have committed £1.5m (€1.7m/$2m) to a joint initiative focused on educating debt advisers in the UK about gambling-related harm.
The two-year project will be delivered across nine regions in England and Wales, with the aim of training debt advisers to identify and offer support to people who may be suffering gambling problems.
GambleAware hopes to establish a network of regional support hubs as part of the initiative, with each facility able deliver training to “front-line” staff that are in other lines of work so that they can also recognise problem gambling.
The partnership with Citizens Advices marks the latest step in GambleAware’s ongoing effort to tackle problem gambling, after the charity last month threw its support behind new Gambling Commission-backed research into the issue.
GambleAware’s efforts are being recognised and it is gaining a greater presence in the UK, boosted by a spike in voluntary industry donations over the past year.
Dr Jane Rigbye, director of education at GambleAware, said: “The debt advice workforce has an enormous role to play in supporting and reducing the likelihood of people experiencing gambling-related harm, as do many professions who come into contact with the general public on a daily basis.
“Encouraging and enabling staff in all public-facing settings to be aware of the possibility that the presenting problems could be related to gambling is key in helping to tackle this issue.”
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, also spoke positively about the new initiative, saying its staff will be able to make a “real difference” to people struggling with gambling.
Guy added: “Gambling can have life-changing effects, not just on the individual but also their families and friends. People seek our help to deal with the practical problems that come out of this – including increased debt and relationship breakdown.”
The partnership comes following a six-year trial that GambleAware successfully ran with the Newport Citizens Advice regional office.