A diverse mix of community leaders, faith leaders, and young people gathered in London for the premiere of a hard-hitting short drama that supports a ground-breaking education programme aimed at addressing the issue of gambling addiction disproportionally affecting young people from ethnic minority populations.
The ‘Do It For Her’ film has been commissioned by three leading gambling education organisations in YGAM, TalkGEN and Red Card Gambling Support CIC as part of the ‘Preventing Gambling Harms in Diverse Communities’ programme. The youth-led production company, Fully Focused, brought together an impressive cast led by Gangs of London star, Fady Elsay, to tell the story of a young Muslim man who is struggling with his gambling addiction.
The Preventing Gambling Harms in Diverse Communities programme delivers 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.
The film is even more poignant as it has been created by individuals who have lived experience of the impact of gambling harms. The three partner organisations have all been established by individuals who have personal lived experience of the harms and impact of gambling addiction.
Fady Elsayed spoke publicly for the first time at the event about his own personal struggles with gambling and why it was so important for him to be involved in this project. He said, “It was a privilege to work on such a powerful film that will really make a difference”.
Asma Akbar is the programme lead at YGAM said “Last night’s event had an amazing atmosphere. It was incredible to finally see all of our hard work come together and the reaction from the audience exceeded expectations. The support we have received from community leaders, faith leaders, education professionals, young people and those individuals with lived experience is overwhelming. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve with the film and the wider programme.”
Chris Gilham, Director at TalkGEN said “ To see ‘Do It For Her’ on the big screen and to see the reactions of those in attendance, confirmed the need for this film to me. This kind of film has not been produced before. The conversations that I had at the premiere made it clear that the film is both thought-provoking and powerful. It highlights the reality of gambling harms within diverse communities. Communities who are disproportionately affected by gambling harm but are less likely to ask for help. There were cheers and tears in the audience, the full range of emotions.”
Tony Kelly is a former professional footballer and now CEO of Red Card Gambling Support CIC. He spoke at the film premiere saying “The film is so important and highlights the impact gambling harms can have on others, which is good to see. I think the collaboration between all partner organisations involved in the programme will make a huge difference in the months ahead. We need to change the narrative and remove the stigma which seems to create barriers around gambling harms in these diverse communities. We want to encourage people to open up and have these difficult conversations that will help support people who may be struggling.”
The event was also attended by a range of stakeholders working in the gambling harm prevention sector. Dr Jane Rigbye, Prevention Director at GambleAware said: “GambleAware’s commissioned research into the experience of young people from ethnic minorities and gambling identified YGAM as an organisation well placed to effect change for individuals within those communities. As a result, the ‘Do it for her’ video provides a good, gritty representation of the harm that some people may experience as a result of gambling. We look forward to seeing the impact this video has in working to raise awareness of the issue of gambling harms amongst minority communities, while also promoting people to the help and support that is available via BeGambleAware.org.”
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. 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.
Katie Reynolds-Jones, Head of Marketing & Communications at GAMSTOP attended the premiere and said “The film was engaging and very well put together with an excellent cast. This is such an important step forward for those working in the prevention and treatment of gambling-related harm sectors. I know it will help to raise awareness across more diverse communities that you are not alone and that there is help and support available whatever your ethnicity or background.”
Written by Mohammedally Shushtari and directed by award-winning, Shehroze Khan, the educational film will be shown in workshops for young people with the aim of increasing understanding of gambling harms, highlighting the signs of harm and encouraging people to have open conversations. The cast also includes a number of talented support cast including Malikai Niwaka, Jonathan Hansler, Patsy Prince and Fred Nwaka.
The film will be available to watch online in the coming weeks.
The Preventing Gambling Harms in Diverse Communities Programme is piloting in the London and Home Counties areas. If you are interested in finding out more then please visit.