Strengthening its safer gambling mandate, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has confirmed the launch of a new £10 million funded ‘education and support programme’ across the UK.
The learning programme, co-developed by GamCare and YGAM, is seeking to educate 11-19 year olds on problem gambling awareness, addictive behaviours and the real-life consequences of gambling addiction.
The BGC explained that the independent education programme will be delivered by the two charities, with licensed incumbents solely contributing to its funding which will be collected and distributed by the Charities Aid Foundation.
The launch will see the BGC deliver on a key pledge of its founding commitments announced last November, in which it highlighted educational support as a fundamental goal.
“As the new standards body representing most of the regulated industry, the BGC is delighted to be supporting this fantastic initiative,” said Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the BGC.
“Educating our young people is vital if we are to ensure that they are better informed and fully aware of the potential risks. It’s also essential that those who are teaching them are fully trained and able to look out for the tell-tale signs of any gambling-related harm and how to access help if required.”
Founding objectives established by GamCare and YGAM aim to directly educate 120,000 UK youngsters. In addition, the programme aims to train 100,000 professionals delivering support to teachers, youth workers, community stakeholders and mental health practitioners.
GamCare and YGAM staff will be supported with a full range of educational materials, in accordance with PSHE Association, City and Guilds and Pearson quality standards.
Lee Willows, founder and CEO of YGAM, said: “Building upon our five-year track record of training professionals who have influence over young people’s learning, we are delighted to be working with GamCare, the BGC and their members and our various external evaluation partners to scale our geographical reach to deliver this ambitious programme.
“By training professionals who have influence over young people’s learning, we will equip these professionals with the skills, knowledge and confidence to not only deliver the programme but also highlight the age-appropriate support available from GamCare.”
In the statement, GamCare and YGAM set out the following ‘shared aspirations’ for gambling education in the UK:
- All 11-19 year-olds in England, Wales and Northern Ireland receive at least one session of gambling awareness education during their secondary/further education
- All teachers, youth workers and other professionals working with young people should have access to information about the risks of gambling, how to identify gambling-related harm in young people and where help can be sought
- All parents and families should have access to information about young people’s gambling, how to keep young people safe, and where they can be referred for help and support
- All young people (aged 18 and under) who are ‘at risk’ of or have developed a problem with gambling, or are affected by the gambling of someone close to them (e.g. a parent), should have access to age-appropriate treatment.
Launching during national lockdown, GamCare and YGAM have ensured that programme resources will be made further available via video link-up.
Youngsters identified through the programme as being impacted by gambling-related harm will be able to receive seamless access to help and support from GamCare staff and via its Youth facing website– ‘BigDeal’.
Commenting on the launch, Anna Hemmings, CEO of GamCare, said: “GamCare have been working with young people and youth facing professionals to deliver gambling education for many years. What we see in the classroom tends to be polarised views on gambling, and a lack of clear understanding about its potential risks. We are delighted to be working with YGAM and extending this much needed programme.
“We believe that gambling education should have parity with education around other risky behaviours and the extension of this programme will help us take a significant step towards achieving that aim.”