GambleAware is striving to promote the voices of people who have lived experience of gambling harms, via the formation of two groups which will become part of the ‘Lived Experience Programme’ and run independently.
In the first instance, Expert Link has been chosen to work with lived experience communities to design and deliver an entirely independent network of people with lived experience of gambling harms that will operate across Great Britain.
Expert Link, appointed via a competitive process, will facilitate the start-up, and once formed the group will also develop sufficient capacity and resource to meaningfully participate and influence national debate and policy making across the gambling sector.
GambleAware has provided initial funding for 18 months, however, the ambition is that the network will be sustainable and completely independent, including identifying and applying for its own funding sources in the longer term.
Alison Clare, research director of GambleAware, said: “We hope this new group will serve as a single, inclusive network that is representative of all people with lived experience of gambling harms across Great Britain.
“We know there are other lived experience groups already out there doing good work in this area, and this new group will fill any gaps and reach those who are harder to engage with.
“Our ambition is to see this independent network grow and develop so that it can help inform all aspects of the gambling debate, from policy and regulation, to research, treatment and prevention.”
Furthermore, GambleAware has also signed a grant agreement for a special interest lived experience group named ‘Affected Lived Experience Research, Treatment and Support Group’, which will be made up solely of individuals who have experience of treatment from within the National Gambling Treatment Service.
A key aim for this specialist group will be to scrutinise existing treatment services and provide system-wide advice and guidance bout the National Gambling Treatment Service.
The group also will ensure there is a representative voice for people with lived experience of gambling harms at the National Clinicians Network Forum of the NGTS.
GambleAware has provided initial funding for a 12-month pilot, and it will be operating as an independent advisor to the charity and NGTS.
Ruth Champion, commissioning manager at GambleAware, commented: “In order for us to ensure that the treatment services we commission are what people want and need, but also effective in preventing and reducing gambling harms, we must ensure the voices of people with lived experience are heeded.
“The group is already contributing to existing work which builds on the peer support system which is available through the National Gambling Treatment Service. I welcome the establishment of this new group and look forward to working with them to develop further the treatment and support that people need for gambling harms.”