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YGAM reiterates education focus in new strategy

| By Robert Fletcher
Youth-orientated non-profit Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) has set out details of its latest strategy, which includes a pledge to continue delivering education to children and young people about the risks of gambling.
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“Strategy 2023 – Safeguarding Our Digital Generation” focuses on the charity’s activities over the next three years, with its primary goal to prevent children and young people from experiencing gambling harms via awareness-raising, education and research. 

To achieve this, YGAM said it will focus on three strategic pillars: Reach and Impact; Thought Leadership, Research and Innovation; and Digital Futures.

The Reach and Impact pillar, which covers growing and expanding its activities, includes continuing to deliver and build on existing education programmes, expanding its geographical delivery footprint, adding new content and hybrid training options to its programmes, introducing a YGAM Alumni Portfolio and rolling out interactive learning sessions.

In terms of its second pillar, YGAM said this will focus on sharing its opinions, best practice and evidence to encourage others to implement effective policy and practice.

To achieve this, YGAM plans to engage with those with lived experiences, develop research collaborations to build a robust evidence portfolio, encourage and capture knowledge and expertise with knowledge translation mechanisms, develop structures to share knowledge with policy makers, and introduce communities of practice to test, develop and share practice-based evidence for harm prevention.

Finally, the Digital Futures pillar centres on the impact of the digital world on children and young people, understanding the potential benefits and harms, and harnessing innovations to improve their digital future.

Here, YGAM will seek to bridge the gap between the experiences of children and young people and the knowledge and skills of those who can work to influence their behaviour. This will include establishing mechanisms to support engagement and coproduction, as well as develop its organisational digital thought leadership culture and build partnerships to help inform its practice moving forward. 

Enabling pillars

These activities will be supported by three enabling pillars, the first of which is Diverse and Sustainable Funding. This will seek to diversify YGAM’s range of income streams to ensure its budget is fully funded through multiple years, underpinned by sustainable and ethical fundraising models.

The second enabling pillar, Great Place to Work, will encourage everyone to contribute to a positive working culture, where people are valued and empowered to make a difference.

Lastly, the Operational Excellence pillar will focus on enabling YGAM to succeed through professional and agile business support, including ensuring its staff have the necessary resources and support to do their job effectively.

“The digital world offers huge opportunities, but with those opportunities come risks, particularly for young people who live in an increasingly digitised world,” YGAM chief executive Dr Jane Rigbye said. “We have a clear purpose, we deliver evidence-based programmes, and we are focused on understanding and continuously improving our impact.”

Shadow Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport minister, Jeff Smith MP, who was in attendance at a parliamentary reception where YGAM launched the strategy, spoke out in support of the plan and also called on the government’s delayed white paper to support education and prevention efforts.

“It is absolutely vital that the white paper gives a clear steer on funding for those in the sector, and we must also recognise that funding should not be limited to treatment provision alone,” Smith said. 

“We need to be focused on preventing harm as well as tackling it when it has been able to develop. That is where charities like YGAM really come into their own, and part of the government’s responsibilities in this white paper is addressing the concerns around the sustainability of their services and provisions.”

The strategy launch comes after YGAM was this month names as the new official charity partner of ICE London 2023. The organisation will also become the official charity partner at the iGB Affiliate London Awards.

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