YGAM And GamCare Take Support Programme To Northern Ireland

With the support of GamCare, the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) is to deliver its education and support programme across Northern Ireland.

The new initiative will specifically concentrate on protecting future generations from damage related to gambling and gaming, building on the initiative that YGAM has already rolled out throughout England and Wales with the help of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).

Both YGAM and GamCare will work together to provide teachers, youth workers and young people directly with evidence-led seminars and tools to help raise awareness of the problems and help prevent harm.

Lee Willows, founder and CEO of YGAM explained: “Having seen first-hand the impact that our work has had in the places we have already rolled out the Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme in partnership with GamCare, I am thrilled that we are now able, with the support of Youth Work Alliance, to start delivering the programme in Northern Ireland.

“As well as educating, informing, and safeguarding, it is also vital that we raise awareness and start a conversation about those very personal experiences of gambling related harms in communities across Northern Ireland.”

Youth Work Alliance, based in Belfast, will assist YGAM in carrying out its evidence-led and evaluated training sessions, in addition to providing them with access to assured training and education services from City & Guilds.

According to YGAM, this would ensure that both educators and youth workers have access to a complete curriculum of lesson plans for children of primary and secondary age, as well as relevant tools for youth work.’

Youth Work Alliance CEO Stephen Dallas stated: “The work we are doing with YGAM, working alongside GamCare, delivering their training and resources on the ground here in Belfast and across Northern Ireland is going to be a huge benefit to our local communities.

“Gambling-related harms have been presented as a hidden issue in Northern Ireland for many years, which makes it even more vital for us to ensure children and vulnerable people are informed, educated and safeguarded against the potential harms associated with gambling and increasingly, gaming too.”

Robbie Butler MLA, an Ulster Unionist leader and chair of the All Party Group on Reducing Harm Related to Gambling in Stormont, has earned the support of YGAM’s work in Northern Ireland.

Butler has welcomed the announcement to deliver new education programmes aimed at reducing the dangers associated with gambling, having already lobbied for new legislation to help protect individuals from gambling-related harms.

“I welcome this initiative from Youth Work Alliance,” he said. “When the APG launched our inquiry into how new legislation can reduce gambling related harms, we made it clear that prevention is better than cure.

“The stronger gambling laws we are hoping for in Northern Ireland need to be backed up by better education to stop harm before it occurs. So therefore, it is hugely encouraging to see the Youth Work Alliance working with YGAM and GamCare to educate and support our young people.”

GamCare and YGAM have allocated resources alongside additional video and digital content to ensure that the curriculum is delivered during the lockdown, which the duo say is ‘reflective of the spaces in which young people consume information.’

Those found by the initiative will be able to gain access to assistance and help from GamCare employees and through its BigDeal website for young people.

The CEO at GamCare, Anna Hemmings, concluded: “The expansion of our work into Northern Ireland is a great step for this programme. The partnership relationship really makes this work unique so I’m really pleased we, alongside YGAM, will be working with the Youth Work Alliance.

“No matter where young people are located the challenges they face when dealing with gambling harms are the same. The Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme will give young people in Northern Ireland the opportunity to explore how gambling might be affecting them in a safe and trusted environment, giving them the tools to make good decisions.”