YGAM and GamCare surpass gambling harm prevention targets

| By Robert Fletcher
UK responsible gambling charities the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) and GamCare have revealed they surpassed the first-year targets for the joint Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme, despite challenges imposed by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Launched in 2020, the four-year programme aims to deliver evidence-led education, training and support to young people across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as collaborating with other organisations in Scotland.

During the first year of the initiative, YGAM trained 2,906 practitioners, ahead of its original target of 2,592. These practitioners are expected to reach 184,700 young people

GamCare also trained 4,185 professionals to work with young people, exceeding the initial goal by almost 3,000 people to date, with two months of the first year of the initiative to go. Educational workshops were delivered to 3,947 young people.

Other achievements included GamCare setting up the UK’s first national young people’s support service offering information, advice and support tailored specifically to the needs of young people impacted by gambling. This service is now accessible online or over the phone.

The Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme is now established in all regions of England and Wales, and in December, education and support services were extended to young people to Northern Ireland for the first time.

In addition, as a response to the challenges of Covid-19, YGAM and GamCare accelerated the digital transformation of resources to enable them to deliver workshops online during lockdown, while GamCare developed an eLearning resource for young people.

“As 2020 unfolded, we saw the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic as an invitation to develop YGAM’s digital capacity in all areas of our work,” YGAM founder and chief executive Lee Willows said. “Although this was done as a response to the crisis, the effect has been significantly advantageous for our education programme.

“Now that the delivery is entirely digital, we have removed enormous barriers that may have prevented some individuals and organisations from taking part.”

GamCare chief executive Anna Hemmings added: “The pandemic has proved a huge challenge, yet our teams have continued to deliver great engagement with professionals and young people. We’ve also developed a dedicated support service tailored to the needs of young people.”

By 2024, YGAM and GamCare aim to work with at least 13,492 practitioners and partner organisations, with the idea of ensuring every young person between the 11 and 19 has at least one session of gambling awareness education during their secondary or further education.

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