Kicking off 2017 by reflecting on the past year

2016 has been without doubt a spectacular year for YGAM. It provided an opportunity to further strengthen the quality and educational rigor of our resources, forge new meaningful partnerships which have delivered good results and allowed everybody involved in our work the opportunity to continually learn and mature in our roles and understanding.

We have faced some fairly significant challenges over the past twelve months, however incorporating our UK-Registered Charity from a starting base of absolute zero has been a hugely rewarding and humbling experience. Just before Christmas I picked up the first printed copy of our annual review from the printers which detailed our work and impact during what was our first year as a UK-Registered Charity. Our team could not have been more proud. The achievements within this annual review are only the visible tip of the iceberg; beneath and underpinning our achievements, as you can imagine, is determined hard work, absolute focus and resilience. Our annual review is available on our website, however please do email us if you would like to receive a printed copy.

We have also had a lot of scrutiny over the past twelve months, as we have been on a journey not only to establish a formally-recognised and functioning charity with solid foundations but also to develop, pilot and evaluate high-quality educational resources that have been awarded the prestigious PSHE Association (Personal, Social, Health & Economic Education) quality kite-mark and also to gain formal accreditation status by the Ofqual-approved awarding body, ASDAN. In total YGAM has over 100, high-quality educational resources aimed at teachers and other professionals who have influence over young people’s learning. All of these resources equip these professionals to deliver a high-quality and accredited programme to young people around the potential risks of gambling & social gaming, through the lens of building digital resilience, emotional intelligence and other life skills, enabling young people to make informed decisions around their gambling or gaming activities. In addition, we have had some scrutiny from our critics, who chose to express their concerns to the UK Charity Commission and to the press about our work. So 2016 was defiantly a year when the ‘lid was lifted’ on YGAM and we were looked at from different angles. I feel we have come out stronger, more informed of the operating environment in which we operate and what are the building blocks required to establish a sustainable organisation operating in this space. This confidence is further underlined every time we deliver a workshop to teachers or work with young people directly. These, our customers, love what we do.

I would encourage you to have a read of our annual review. You’ll be able to read what we have delivered over the past twelve months, understand the principle YGAM educational products and learn what we are planning to deliver during our second year as a UK-Registered Charity. We have got off to a promising start for year two already; securing over £250k investment during the last six months alone; opening projects at three universities; creating six Living Wage jobs for psychology students and training upwards of 120 teachers and professionals who work with young people. Looking forward, we are also being supported by Dr. Margaret Carran from City, University of London, who has kindly agreed to undertake a six-month, pro-bono independent evaluation of our work and produce a report on the effectiveness of the YGAM programme. We intend to launch this report, lessons learnt and our year two impact report at an event in the Summer 2017.

Additionally, we are working with the Ofqual-approved, global awarding body Pearson / Edexcel to further strengthen the educational rigor of our resources and evaluate our training as we seek to become a Pearson approved qualification centre and gain their Pearson Assured quality standard. We hope to achieve this by Q2, 2017 and we believe no programme around minimising gambling or gaming-related harm globally has ever achieved such a robust quality-assurance and accreditation status. Finally, we have incorporated YGAM Innovation Limited, as a trading subsidiary to the charity, where we are working with specific gambling operators to pilot and evaluate externally-accredited and independent quality-assured formal qualifications around minimising gambling-related harm for those who work within the gambling industry. The profits generated by YGAM Innovations Limited will be gifted to YGAM the charity, thus allowing us to further scale our charity impact and offer subsidised or free training to teachers and those whom we train.

So we are entering 2017 with a firm strategic focus and intend to maintain the systematic and organised approach as we did last year to ensure we continue to deliver quality products, that our customers love. My warm thanks to all our supporters and those whom share our belief and commitment.

Best wishes
Lee Willows
YGAM Chief Executive

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