Volunteers Week

Volunteers Week

As part of #VolunteersWeek we’re shining the light on some of our incredible volunteers, whether they’re a trustee, part of an advisory board, or they’re just generally lovely people who donate their services, time, skills, or knowledge. YGAM would not be where we are today without this wonderful bunch of people and we are incredibly grateful, not just to those that we feature but every single person involved with the charity.

Hayley Conboy

Volunteers Week - Hayley ConboyWhat is your volunteer role with YGAM?
I am volunteer Trustee at YGAM.

Why did you decide to join YGAM?
It was so inspiring to come across a charity that has such clarity of purpose and a focus on developing practical solutions and answers. A charity with such a clear purpose helps its volunteers clearly see the difference they can make too.

What’s your day job?
I am Head of Events, Community and Corporate Fundraising at King's College London.

What’s your favourite place on earth?
Hampstead Heath on a sunny day, it has always been a sanctuary for me from the busyness of London.

Who inspires you?
The charity sector is enriched by lots of people with lived experience of causes they work to promote and unafraid of sharing that story and experience to help others. I am inspired by people who have faced challenges or hardship and who have used their experiences to grow, inspire others and change the world for the better.

Tell us one weird fact…
Otters hold hands when they sleep so they don't float away from each other. They also have a special pocket in their skin, where they carry their favourite rock! So cute.

Your top tip for anyone wanting to be a volunteer/trustee…
Once you know you are motivated to give your time and energy to a cause, look for an organisation that can best utilise your personal skills so you can really add value and contribute.

 

Will Ridley

Volunteers Week - Will RidleyWhat is your volunteer role with YGAM?
Chair of the Young People & Student Advisory Group.

Why did you decide to join YGAM?
There’s been a lot of changes over the past decade that have affected young people from smartphones to social media. I’m passionate that when decisions are being made about young people in the gaming/gambling industry (for example advertising and safeguarding) that young people are in the room/around the table to input; we need young people to have a voice in these decisions.

What’s your day job?
Brand Executive at Sky Betting & Gaming.

What’s your favourite place on earth?
Good question, as a Newcastle United fan it doesn’t get much better than St James’ Park but I’m partial to a good beach/rooftop bar.

Who inspires you?
Positive people. My family, friends, and colleagues. The energy that some people have, to make a difference in their work, personal, and social lives inspires me every day.

Tell us one weird fact…
I appeared on local news before the 2015 General Election.

Your top tip for anyone wanting to be a volunteer/trustee…
Do it. Commit to it and make time for it. The rewards outweigh any doubts you may have.

 

Gabriella Tamas

Volunteers Week - Gabriella TamasWhat is your volunteer role with YGAM?
Trustee/treasurer for YGAM and Gameplan (the trading subsidiary of YGAM).

Why did you decide to join YGAM?
It was a coincidence, really. Initially, when a head-hunter approached with the Trustee position, I was quite reluctant to join because I thought gambling addiction was a weakness, until I learned that it is associated with mental health problems. I would not have known about it, if my daughter did not volunteer with Henrietta Bowden-Jones at the National Problem Gambling Clinic that summer.

What’s your day job?
I am the Finance and IT director for a dynamic £20m turnover organisation.

What’s your favourite place on earth?
Anywhere over 2,500 meters (8,000 feet) high, where the air is clean and a bit thinner than at lower altitude.

Who inspires you?
My 20-year-old daughter, who fought herself through the British A level system after surviving a nearly fatal viral brain disease.

Tell us one weird fact…
There is nothing new about gambling addiction and recovery stories. My great grandfather lost, the bet was to emigrate to the USA with his best pal in 1906. Understandably, my great grandmother was not pleased by the fact that she and the children were left behind, so she refused to follow him when he sent boat tickets to the whole family a few years later. Eventually, he came to his senses and returned to his homeland and family.

Your top tip for anyone wanting to be a volunteer/trustee…
Not everyone understands that being a trustee is not just about dedication to the cause or enrichment of someone's cv, but it is a legal responsibility.

 

Jake McClure

Volunteers Week - Jake McClureWhat is your volunteer role with YGAM?
I am a Non-Executive Director of Gameplan (the trading subsidiary of YGAM).

Why did you decide to join YGAM?
Nothing permeates the worlds of young people more than social gaming. I have two young kids (who are in my photo) and I don't think it is possible (or sensible) to attempt to stay up to speed with every way in which tech plays a role in their lives. However, there are so many ways in which lives can quickly unravel due to gaming - and gambling - and I am so keen to do anything I can to help support the outstanding mission of YGAM which is to inform, educate and safeguard young people in these areas.

What’s your day job?
Until a few weeks ago, I was Executive Director of Strategy at the City & Guilds Group, an international skills and education organisation. However, I just started a new role as Chief of Staff for the Rural Payments Agency, part of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

What’s your favourite place on earth?
I have lived in so many countries and visited so many places - travelling is my passion. However, for me, all roads lead back to Warsaw, Poland. My first (real) job was there (in 1999). Since then, I fell in love with the place. Over the next few years, it's where I bought my first apartment, met my (now) wife, had my first 'corporate' job and have made many fantastic friends. It's a city with a complex character, a troubled history and a multitude of hidden wonders.

Who inspires you?
My wife (and kids). My wife changed her career in her 40s. She studied for a fully funded Open University social work degree whilst working a full-time job in child protection with our local authority, whilst having two children. All in her second language. Words cannot describe my respect for her.

Tell us one weird fact…
I once went to watch a traditional horse racing festival in Mongolia with Boris Johnson's half-brother.

Your top tip for anyone wanting to be a volunteer/trustee…
Eat, breathe and sleep the mission. Work pays the bills. Sometimes, work can also be fun. However, for many people, work is something you do to live, volunteering requires passion. You need to believe in the mission of your organisation. Often volunteering can plug the gap where work can sometimes lack meaning. You will learn so many transferable skills from volunteering which will then help you in your professional and private life. Keep an open mind and always look for ways to connect people. And never underestimate your own skills.

Anne and Keith Evans

Volunteers Week - Anne and KeithWhat is your volunteer role with YGAM?
Founder/Patrons

Why did you decide to join YGAM?
We did not join it but helped to set it going. Following the death of our son Alan because of gambling debts and the misery it all caused my family, we wanted to assist other people who also could be suffering and educate young people about the dangers in gambling. Coming from an Education background I knew this was the opportunity we had been searching for and which I was familiar with.

We were both very impressed with Lee and Adrian and loved working with them and still do.

What’s your day job?
Retirement, YGAM and local work in our area for Gambling issues and problems.

What’s your favourite place on earth?
Our home.

Who inspires you?
Our children, Anne’s son Alan, YGAM’s Chief Executive Lee Willows, and Matthew Gaskell (Chief Psychiatrist Leeds and York) who has just succeeded in creating a Gambling Clinic and outposts for the whole of the North of England.

Tell us one weird fact…
A blue whale’s tongue weighs as much as an elephant.

Your top tip for anyone wanting to be a volunteer/trustee…
Goodwill goes a long way so befriend all involved and work together with them if at all possible. If volunteering for YGAM, get to know the YGAM workshops and ambitions. Believe in what you do.