Industry charity GambleAware has invested £750,000 in Scottish youth problem gambling charity counterpart Fast Forward.
The grant will see Fast Forward establish Scotland’s ‘Gambling Education Hub’, based on the ‘Gambling Education Toolkit’ developed by the charity last year.
The Hub seeks to extend the scope and scale of gambling education, awareness, training and support offered by organisations.
A core target, for Fast Forward, is to help communities address and identify problem gambling as an issue across Scotland.
Fast Forward aims to provide the relevant training and resources needed by youth-workers, teachers and other professionals to address gambling-related issues. The initiative engages young people in formal and informal education settings and offers further services for vulnerable youngsters who are not in education, employment or training, as well as parents and carers.
Backing Fast Forward Dr Jane Rigbye, Director of Education at GambleAware said: “We were impressed with the results Fast Forward have already achieved while working with us over the past three years, so we are delighted to be able to scale-up their work to make a real impact across the whole of Scotland. If the work continues to secure the positive, independent evaluations we’ve already seen, then we would hope to replicate this model in England and Wales as soon as practicable.”
A key initiative, which has already gained support from local MSP, Kevin Stewart and university and college representatives in Aberdeen, is on further and higher education.
Fast Forward will provide training and support to student guidance, support and welfare staff, such as student welfare officers, student association officers and student support officers, at key times over the academic year. The pilot stage for this part of the project is already underway and will be rolled out as a model across other education institutions in Scotland.
Alastair MacKinnon, Chief Executive of Fast Forward said:“Fast Forward’s goal as a charity is to enable young people to make informed choices about their well-being and to live healthier lifestyles. We are only just beginning to understand the full extent of gambling-related harms and the impact on gamblers and those around them. Ensuring all those who work with Scottish young people are empowered to offer advice about safer gambling and help those who need it find treatment could make a real difference to a generation with more opportunities to gamble than ever before.”