EPIC Risk Management has formed an alliance with Chelsea FC Foundation to deliver gambling harm awareness to five schools.
Said to be located in the same geographic area simultaneously, the initiative – titled ‘Chelsea Champions’ – saw five EPIC facilitators work alongside Chelsea FC Academy players and Foundation coaches to deliver an afternoon of mental health and wellbeing workshops at secondary schools across the south-east of London.
Schools that partook in the initiative included Chelsea Academy, Fulham Cross Academy and Fulham Boys’ School, Thomas Bennett Community College in Crawley and Merstham Park School in Redhill
“It’s great to be able to utilise and work alongside EPIC, using their real-life experiences, which I think has really touched and brought a lot home to the students,” admitted Jonny Drabble, Senior Project Officer for the Chelsea Champions project delivered by Chelsea FC Foundation.
“The facilitators spoke really well and passionately, and I think anything like that adds that extra value.
“Speaking to a lot of the young people, I think it has raised a few eyebrows and hopefully that’ll encourage some positive conversations, raising the importance of talking and knowing who to speak to and share those problems.
“We have an officer that works full-time in the school, so hopefully EPIC’s message can encourage those positive conversations to keep going in the schools.”
EPIC sent Scott Davies, Patrick Foster, Andy Margett, Paul Findlay MBE and Marc Williams, who all have lived experiences of gambling harm, to share their back story alongside Chelsea’s potential future stars, with a handful at each school explaining their story of how they broke into the game and some of the challenges they have had to overcome throughout their school days.
Davies explained: “It’s massively admirable; I never did it when I was younger. I think media training like this, ahead of going and doing interviews when you’re older in your career, is massively important.
“You want to get it right and there’s a lot of scrutiny around it now, and I think that talking in front of students at schools will only benefit them in the long run.
“It’s massively important for younger people to listen if people like myself and the scholars start talking about problems that they might be facing in their lives, and how we can combat those.
“It’s a great initiative that Chelsea FC Foundation and the club’s Academy have put on; we’re delighted to be involved.”