YGMA exceeds first-year targets despite COVID-19 impact

Business News

Leading charities YGAM and GamCare have surpassed the first-year targets for their joint Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme, despite significant challenges imposed by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

Supported by the Betting and Gaming Council, the four-year national programme is the largest of its kind and aims to deliver evidence-led education, training and support to young people across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as collaborating with other organisations supporting young people across Scotland.

Figures released by YGAM show that the education charity trained 2,906 practitioners in 2020 (up from its original target of 2,592). With this training, those practitioners have reached an impressive 184,700 young people to provide vital educational sessions on the harms associated with gambling and gaming (up from a target of 170,300).

In addition, GamCare have trained 4,185 professionals who work with young people and delivered educational workshops directly to 3,947 young people. With just over two months left of their first year of delivery, GamCare has already exceeded training targets by almost 3,000 people to date.

GamCare has also set up the first national young people’s support service, offering information, advice and support tailored specifically to the needs of young people impacted by their own gambling or that of a loved one. Young people are now able to access this service online or over the phone, with support available around the clock.

The Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme has been established in all regions of England and Wales, as well as expanding education and support services for young people to Northern Ireland for the first time. Both YGAM and GamCare work closely with other agencies providing education in Scotland.

In response to the tests of a global pandemic, both YGAM and GamCare accelerated the digital transformation of their resources to enable them to deliver their workshops online throughout successive lockdowns. These resources continue to be available to anyone that works with young people, including teachers and youth workers. GamCare has also developed an eLearning resource for young people, which can be made available as part of blended learning packages. YGAM launched a new ‘Parent Hub’ website providing families with free resources, information and activities to help safeguard children from gambling and gaming-related harms.

YGAM Founder and Chief Executive Lee Willows said: “I am extremely proud of the enormous success we have already seen from the programme. As 2020 unfolded, we saw the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as an invitation to develop YGAM’s digital capacity in all areas of our work. Although this was done as a response to the crisis, the effect has been significantly advantageous for our education programme.