Swansea City Launch The Big Step Link

Swansea City Championship football club has launched a link-up with The Big Step gambling risk prevention charity programme, in a development that the club lauds as a’ trailblazing new partnership.’

The decision to work with a gambling-harm prevention charity follows the decision of the club in August to remove a gambling endorsement from the front of their shirts, with the room being filled by Swansea University afterwards.

James Grimes, Gambling with Lives senior programme manager and founder of The Big Step, explained: “I am so proud to announce our partnership with Swansea City, whose community scheme is renowned for improving lives.

“As a recovering gambling addict, I am passionate about preventing young people going through the same thing that I did. During 12 years of addiction, football failed to provide adequate warnings or the help that I so desperately needed.

“This partnership will show how football can be a positive social vehicle in preventing and reducing gambling harms in its community through our education, awareness and signposting work.”

The Big Step is a gambling education initiative focusing on football and part of the charity Gambling with Lives, which sees gambling harm encountered by offering a community-based education , training, awareness and signposting programme in partnership with the Swans.

Swans fan Nick Phillips, himself a former gambling addict, will have the Gambling Harms Prevention programme.

Phillips said: “I would like to thank the club and the supporters trust in giving us the opportunity to talk about gambling and, in particular, the harms that are attached with it. As a lifelong fan of the club, I am excited about this education project and believe it will have a significant positive impact amongst the fans and the local community.”

In addition to the club’s sponsorship, the scheme was also sponsored by the Swansea City Supporters Trust, the Swansea City Community Trust, and was viewed positively by Carolyn Harris, the local MP.

Harris, Swansea East MP, remarked: “I am delighted that the Swans, my local football club, are taking the issue of gambling-related harm seriously and is forming this important partnership with The Big Step.

“This programme will play a critical role in ensuring that young people are made aware of the real risks of gambling and gambling addiction.”

Andrew Godden, chair of Swansea City Supporters’ Trust, added: “We have been touched by the experiences shared by Nick and James, and we strongly believe that their plans to educate and improve awareness of the potential harmful impacts of gambling, particularly to young people, are much needed and long overdue.

“The Trust is delighted that the Swans have agreed to work with Nick and James and we look forward to working with all parties to help deliver this wonderful initiative.”