GamCare and the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust have formed an alliance to deliver an education and support programme to Northern Ireland.
Both parties assert a mission of ‘safeguarding future generations from gambling and gaming related harms’ via the move, which follows YGAM’s roll-out across England and Wales.
“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,” explained Lee Willows, founder and CEO of YGAM.
“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, a charity based in Belfast, is working with YGAM to deliver evidence-led and evaluated training to teachers and youth workers, in addition to giving them access to City & Guilds assured training and education resources, which provide a full curriculum of lesson plans for primary and secondary age children as well as youth work specific resources.
Stephen Dallas, CEO of Youth Work Alliance, 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.”
The move has also been welcomed by prominent politician Robbie Butler MLA, who is the chair of the All Party Group on Reducing Harm Related to Gambling in Stormont.
“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.”