Expert Link will design an entirely independent network that will operate across Great Britain and be representative of the entire British community, focusing on equality, diversity and inclusion.
Once formed, the group will also develop capacity and resource to meaningfully participate and influence national debate and policy making across the gambling sector.
GambleAware will initially fund the project for 18 months, with the overall aim for the network to become sustainable and independent, including identifying and applying for its own funding sources in the longer term.
“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,” GambleAware research director Alison Clare said.
“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.”
Meanwhile, GambleAware has also signed a grant agreement for a new special interest lived experience group.
Referred to as ‘Affected Lived Experience Research, Treatment and Support Group’, or ‘ALERTS’, the group is made up solely of individuals with experience of treatment from within the National Gambling Treatment Service (NGTS).
ALERTS will focus on scrutinising existing treatment services and provide system-wide advice and guidance from a lived experience perspective about the NGTS.
The group will seek to ensure there is a representative voice for people with lived experience of gambling harms at the National Clinicians Network Forum of the NGTS.
GambleAware will provide initial funding for the group for a 12-month pilot, with ALERTS to operate as an independent advisor to GambleAware and the NGTS.
GambleAware commissioning manager Ruth Champion 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 NGTS. 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.”
The double announcement comes after GambleAware this week also revealed that John McCracken, its director of commissioning for treatment services, has stepped down from his role.
McCracken spent just under three years at the charity, having joined in April 2018 from the UK government’s Department of Health, where he served as head of drugs policy.