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GambleAware launches Lived Experience Council

| By Robert Fletcher
GambleAware has established a new Lived Experience Council, a group of people who have been impacted by gambling harms, to support its short- and long-term plans.

The lived experience council comprises people with lived experience of gambling harms, including those affected by other people’s gambling habits, and will offer advice to GambleAware’s activities, programmes and strategic development.

GambleAware said the council builds on a commitment to ensuring its approach is collaborative and best placed to help the communities most in need in Great Britain.

“Our new council is further evidence of our proud commitment to engage with the gambling harms community,” GambleAware chief executive Zoë Osmond said. “With the imminent publication of the white paper, and subsequent regulatory reform, this is a crucial time for GambleAware’s strategic development.

“It’s imperative that the voices of those with experience and expertise in this public health crisis guide our future path. My heartfelt thanks to our new council members and we look forward to working with you all on our mission to prevent and tackle gambling harms.”

GambleAware lived experience council meeting

The council met for its first session on 2 December, during which they elected Ben Howard as chair. Howard currently volunteers as a peer supporter helping others in recovery and has also been involved in tackling gambling stigma research.

Other members of the GambleAware council include David Quinti, who has been in recovery from problem gambling for seven years and is a founding member of the Gambling Lived Experience Network (GLEN), as well as Mark Conway, another founding member of GLEN.

Leanne Downie, a former hospitality worker that moved into the charity sector in 2018, will also sit on the council alongside Nicola Jaques, a project worker for the Six to Ten project, and Sam Starsmore, head of delivery for education at the Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM).

Steph Shilton, the wife of former England goalkeeper and recovering problem gambler, Peter Shilton, will also join the council, with Suhayl Patel, who works for Beacon Counselling Trust, and Jas Bindarh.

A final member who chose to remain anonymous, was exposed to gambling during her childhood as various family members used to gamble.

GambleAware first announced plans to create a lived experience group in October 2020. In June of this year, it called for applicants to join the council.

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