Educational programme will help and inform young people on gambling

Educational programme will help and inform young people on gambling

Friday, August 24, 2018 Posted by Joseph Streeter
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The Scottish charity, Fast Forward, has secured a £750,000 grant from GambleAware to run a major national youth problem gambling initiative across the country for three years.

The funding will be put towards the development of a new Scottish Gambling Education Hub. The Hub, which is based on the Gambling Education Toolkit, developed by Fast Forward last year, will extend the scope and scale of gambling education, awareness, training and support offered to organisations.

The aim of the project is to help organisations address gambling issues with young people across Scotland. The programme will provide the relevant training and resources needed by youth workers, teachers and other professionals to address gambling-related issues. The initiative will encompass young people in formal and informal education settings, and offer services for vulnerable young people who are not in education, employment or training, as well as parents and carers.

A particular focus of the 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.

Dr Jane Rigbye, director of education at GambleAware stated: “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.”

Alastair MacKinnon, chief executive of Fast Forward commented: “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.”

Kevin Stewart MSP for Aberdeen Central added: “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, FastForward and GambleAware to discuss an ambitious, multi-group strategy, to tackle problem gambling amongst students.”

Totally Gaming says: When it comes to problem gambling, there’s always a heavy emphasis on treatment and research, to the point where education almost appears to take a back seat. This initiative, worth three quarters of a million pounds, proves that’s not quite the case. Some might argue that it could be taken further still, with education on the risks of gambling for even younger students. Prevention, as they say, is better than cure.

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