GambleAware puts problem gambling project on Fast Forward

GambleAware puts problem gambling project on Fast Forward

Monday, August 20, 2018 Posted by Luke Massey
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Fast Forward has secured £750,000 to run a major youth initiative

Having used previous funding to pilot a toolkit for use in schools and non-traditional youth settings in Scotland, Fast Forward has secured a further £750,000 grant from GambleAware to fund the delivery of a three-year national youth problem gambling programme across the country.

Back in 2015, the Fast Forward project was one of five backed by GambleAware for a combined £580,000. The aim was to prevent the onset of at-risk gambling behaviour among young people and increase access to and availability of support and treatment.

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 particular focus of the new programme, 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.

Kevin Stewart, MSP for Aberdeen Central, said: “It’s excellent news that Aberdeen will pilot this bold strategy and I hope it brings some comfort to the young people and their parents in this city who have experienced utter misery and massive debt as a result of gambling addiction whilst studying. 

“I am determined to do all I can to help bring more awareness to the problem of gambling and how it affects young folk, which is why earlier this year I brought together representatives from both the universities, NESCOL, Fast Forward and GambleAware to discuss an ambitious, multi-group strategy, to tackle problem gambling amongst students.

“The funding secured from GambleAware will bring significant investment across Scotland and will mean Aberdeen can pioneer Fast Forward’s cutting edge strategy. This announcement is absolutely crucial in our work to get real support for those who need it.”

Alastair MacKinnon, Chief Executive of Fast Forward, added: “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.”

Last month, GambleAware confirmed spending of £32 million over a two year period, broken down into research and evaluation (£9.8 million) and treatment (£14.3 million), as well as education and prevention (£5.6 million), which of course this Fast Forward project falls into.

GambleAware CEO Marc Etches told “GambleAware operates an Education & Treatment Committee, chaired by Professor Sian Griffiths, that considers education and treatment activities in the context of the charity’s strategic plans and makes funding recommendations to the full Board of trustees.

“We are committed to spending a minimum of £5.6million on education and prevention in the next two years, so there will be a number of new initiatives to be announced in the coming months.”

Totally Gaming says: The programme will provide the relevant training and resources needed by youth-workers, teachers and other professionals to address gambling-related issues, firstly in Aberdeen, before the model reaches education institutions across the rest of Scotland.

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