Elevating Communities Aims to Help Gambling Addicts
Former Premier League footballer, Matthew Etherington has this week come out to warn of the dangers of gambling.
Ethrington has branded gambling as an illness as people who gamble “hide things deep down and keep secrets”. Ethertington has bravely put himself forward for approximately a dozen football agents to help their clients who have also been struggling with addictions to gambling, which is affecting their health and personal life.
In an interview with BBC News, Etherington spoke about how going to a support group helped him to curb his addiction and how having other people in the same boat as him helped him to get over his gambling addiction, which put him in £1.5m worth of debt.
Support groups like the one Matthew Etherington was helped by are often community-led projects addressing national issues at a local level.
Elevating Communities, based in Oldham is a long-standing community-based project that looks to engage, recruit and retain young people aged between 12 and 24 years into its programmes.
The group’s main aim is to prevent gambling addiction rather than “cure” it. By teaching young people about the dangers of gambling and highlighting people who may show slight signs of a gambling addiction and helping them before it gets worse, the group believes their project can be a huge success.
Government research and national gambling charities, e.g. GamCare, have identified that not enough is being done to tackle the raising numbers of young gamblers. The National Centre for Social Research found that 83,000 young gamblers reported problems in 12 months.
The project will consist of:
- Free interactive Gambling Education Workshops for parents, youth and community projects, covering attitudes to gambling and risks about gambling. These workshops will also help individuals to understand the chances of winning, staying safe, how to recognise whether you have a gambling problem, online gambling help and where to find extra support
- Free one day training course for youth professionals aimed at workers who engage with young people to increase their experience and confidence in delivering gambling education
- A number of diversionary activities for young people
Gambling related problems can be prevented and this project will be based on primary intervention by offering advice, practical help and support. Elevating Communities’ research has identified that some of the most at need youths are of a BME (Black Minority Ethnic) background, so the group has adapted the project content to be culturally sensitive with the help of local faith leaders.
The changes in the gambling environment have greatly increased young people’s exposure to gambling. With promotions and opportunities for gambling becoming more intense and more available, past protective strategies and tactics may no longer be adequate. This project will take into consideration the current environment and put together a programme that meets the specific challenges of this new environment.
Elevating Communities’ workshops will be fun and interactive, covering up to date findings, real life case studies and discuss modern day issues, such as online gambling.
The group uses sports, music and residential camps as diversionary activities that have been identified by the young people themselves. All support is undertaken by professionals in a one to one session and tailored to the individual and their needs.
Young people in Coldhurst have played a big part in the development of this project. The area is one of the most affected by youth gambling therefore the group has been able to get real life experiences and views and factor them into the delivery of the project.
Groups like this can often inspire and show young people the path they are going down can be prevented. Elevating Communities’ volunteers are trained to a high standard and are all passionate about what they do.
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