Gambling harm prevention programme launched aimed at young ethnic minorities

A pioneering new education programme has been launched in Greater London and the Home Counties to raise awareness and address the issue of gambling harm disproportionately affecting young people from ethnic minority populations.


The ‘Preventing Gambling Harms in Diverse Communities’ initiative has been developed through a unique collaboration between YGAM, TalkGEN CIC, Red Card Gambling Support Project CIC and Clearview Research. The prevention programme will deliver free specialist workshops to young people from ethnic minority populations aged 14–24, as well as free training to community and faith leaders. The programme content centres on an understanding of socio-cultural and religious contexts on shame and stigma relating to gambling harms.

YouGov Research published in 2020 shows that 1 in 2 adults from ethnic minority backgrounds have gambled in the UK in the last 12 months, and around 1 in 4 of these past-year gamblers suffer significant gambling-related harm. Moreover, a 2019 study by Clearview Research on the young BAME perspective reported that 90% agreed that gambling is seen differently within their ethnic cultures than within white British cultures, and 95% of participants could not identify how they could access help for gambling harm.

The three partner organisations have all been established by individuals who have personal lived experience of the harms and impact of gambling addiction. The partners will channel their lived experience and insight into workshops that equip young people with the knowledge to recognise and prevent gambling harm and the confidence to support themselves and others through recovery.

TalkGEN CIC and Red Card Gambling Support Project CIC will work collaboratively to maximise synergies and combine resources to create young person facing educational content, using insight from the YGAM and Clearview Research content co-creation sessions. The content will include culturally-specific gambling-harm awareness short films that cover different areas in the black and Asian communities as well as self-help information and age-appropriate signposting material. Over the two-year pilot, 16,600 young people will be reached directly.

Kishan Patel, 5th Year Medical Student at Imperial College and CEO at TalkGEN CIC said: “In general, young people today are increasingly growing up with finger-tip access and exposure to gambling products and advertisements online. Despite this, the vast majority are not aware of the sudden or insidious but potentially devastating effects of gambling harm. It’s just not talked about enough, especially in schools or GP surgeries, where it is desperately needed. The situation we have now is one where young people are vulnerable to harms from their gambling or a family member’s gambling, but sadly feel unable to access help and support.”

Tony Kelly is a former professional footballer and now CEO of Red Card Gambling Support Project CIC. Welcoming the launch of the programme, he said: “We are pleased to be working with YGAM and TalkGEN on this project, as I believe we share the same goals and vision. This initiative is very much needed as gambling addiction within these hard-to-reach communities is something that is still a taboo subject so it is important we break down that barrier of stigma. I hope to use my professional football career and my story to engage our young target audience on this topic. Coming from a Caribbean background myself, I hope many young people from the community will hear my voice as one they can listen and relate to.”

Lee Willows, CEO of YGAM said “We’re proud to be part of this purposeful collaboration with lived experience and diversity at its heart. The project builds on the recommendations from the Clearview Research; ‘Gambling: The young BAME perspective’, commissioned by GambleAware in 2019. YGAM will take the lead on the training of community and faith leaders who once trained will deliver the programme to young people. Over the two-year pilot, YGAM will aim to train 323 practitioners, who will in turn reach 18,050 young people in their care. With the talent, specialist insight and commitment from all partner organisations, I am confident that collectively we’ll deliver some helpful perspectives on how to engage with minority communities, contributing to the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.”

The programme will seek formal assured status from City & Guilds. Clearview Research have been appointed to lead the creation of a Theory of Change model for the programme and will act as independent evaluation partners. Clearview Research also worked with YGAM in 2020 to undertake a comprehensive BAME Audit, working with the charity to co-create content specifically aimed at minority communities. The initiative has received funding from the Gambling Commission regulatory settlements and will contribute to the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, specifically within the Prevention and Education priority area.

In addition, a prominent Advisory Group will be established to examine the stigma of gambling harms in these communities. The programme will be recruiting members to this group in the coming weeks.

If you are interested in finding out more about the programme and the free workshops available then please contact PGHDC@ygam.org.

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