GambleAware and Citizens Advice have unveiled a new £1.5m partnership, designed to help debt advisors better understand, prevent and reduce gambling related harms.
Set to be delivered across nine English and Welsh regions, the project is to initially provide further training to front-line debt advisors.
Dr Jane Rigbye, director of education at GambleAware, explained: “The debt advice workforce has an enormous role to play in supporting and reducing the likelihood of people experiencing gambling-related harms, as do many professions who come into contact with the general public on a daily basis.
“Encouraging and enabling staff in all public-facing settings to be aware of the possibility that the presenting problems could be related to gambling is key in helping to tackle this issue.
“I am particularly delighted that we will continue to work with Katie Fry to lead this programme, and with her team at Newport Citizens Advice’s Gambling Support Service, as we roll out the programme at far greater scale.”
Extra training is to see staff gain the necessary tools to identity and support individuals who could be suffering from gambling related harm, in addition to directing those at risk to the specialist help that is available.
As part of the new project regional hubs are set to be established, and are to be run by dedicated staff who will deliver training to other front-line workers in other professions who come across people suffering from gambling related harm, such as front-line local authority staff, youth practitioners and healthcare workers.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, commented: “Gambling can have life-changing effects, not just on the individual but also their families and friends.
“People seek our help to deal with the practical problems that come out of this – including increased debt and relationship breakdown.
“We are pleased to be partnering with GambleAware to develop services across England and Wales. These will help our staff make a real difference to people struggling with gambling.”
The new funding commitment follows a successful six-year pilot project GambleAware ran with Newport Citizens Advice to deliver the Gambling Support Service.
Katie Fry, manager of the Newport Citizens Advice Gambling Support Service, added: “We know those we help with gambling often experience significant mental health problems.
“In two years, we’ve trained more than 2,000 advisors and volunteers to recognise gambling issues and help people to overcome them.
“I’m delighted the success of our project can now grow beyond South Wales.”