A leading education charity has been praised by Doncaster’s Director of Public Health for continuing to expanding their crucial work in the region to help safeguard young people from gaming and gambling harm.  

Dr Rupert Suckling, Director of Public Health for Doncaster Council has been working with the Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust to help roll out their education programmes in schools, colleges and youth organisations. Dr Sucking said: “Over two-thirds of young people participating in our Pupil Lifestyle Survey say they’re taking part in activities related to gambling at least occasionally.  For many this will be considered just a bit of fun, but, we know that problem gaming and gambling causes harm to children, young people and families.  This training from YGAM supports our local Gambling Action Plan, by increasing awareness and understanding amongst frontline staff to protect children and young people from gaming and gambling related harm.”

YGAM provides free digital training to teachers and youth workers as part of the Young Peoples Gambling Harm Prevention Programme, delivered in partnership with Gamcare. The four-year programme is the largest of its kind with the aim of reaching millions of young people through evidence-led education, training, and support.

Doncaster College are one of the local organisation which has benefitted from the charity programme. Rebecca Kirkham, a teacher at the College, said: “We found the session to be very friendly and informative. The trainers kept the session interesting and encouraged plenty of input towards the listeners. The training gave knowledge of gambling, how to approach and how to effectively engage young people in opening up discussions about the subject.”

YGAM’s founders, Anne and Keith Evans are proud Doncaster residents, and set up the charity over six years ago following their own devasting experiences with gambling addiction. Anne, 86, lost her son Alan to suicide following his 25 year gambling addiction. Anne said: “We’re so pleased to see how Doncaster Council continues to support YGAM’s work and take our resources on board. We know it’s a difficult subject for some people, which is why it’s so important to engage with it as much as possible.”

“With our personal connection to the area, it’s so encouraging to see people here taking advantage of YGAM’s free training. Gambling problems are so common – I often have people come and ask me about it, asking what can they can do. There’s no easy answer to it. It’s a terrible problem when it strikes your family. But education can make such an important difference and has a really beneficial effect”.

Figures released by YGAM show that the education charity trained 2,906 practitioners in 2020 (with a reach of 184,700 young people they work with) to provide vital educational sessions on the harms associated with gambling and gaming. Feedback collected by teachers shows that 96% young people who attend a YGAM sessions understand how gambling harm can impact their lives compared to 26% pre-session.

Amy Bussey, YGAM’s Education Manager for Yorkshire and The Huber, said: “Our journey as a charity first started in Doncaster, with our patrons Anne and Keith campaigning for more education surrounding gambling related harm. It is therefore fantastic and so rewarding to see how our training is impacting on local Doncaster services such as Doncaster College and Doncaster Council.

“I’m so happy that the Director of Public Health for the council values our training and resources, and that the Public Health team and Doncaster College are championing our services within the local community. I’m proud to lead the Yorkshire and Humber region, and to see how our journey progresses over the next few years within the county.”

YGAM offers free training sessions to teachers and anybody who works with young people, in addition to its existing resources for parents (www.parents.ygam.org). To find out more and book a session, please contact training@ygam.org or visit www.ygam.org