The National Union of Students (NUS) has endorsed YGAM’s new Student Hub website, calling it a “vital” resource to prevent young people in higher education experiencing gaming and gambling-related harm.

The NUS represents around 7 million students amounting to more than 95% of all higher and further education unions in the UK. YGAMs new Student Hub website (www.students.ygam.org) is the latest part of the charity’s programme, which works in partnership with Universities and Students’ Unions to deliver a unique peer-led education programme. Its goal is to give students in higher education information and tools to enjoy a university experience free from harm.

A spokesperson from the National Union of Students (NUS) said: “From previous research conducted by NUS, we know that tens of thousands of students each year are using their loans to gamble in a bid to top up their funds, with many ending up in debt as much as £5,000 or more. With the Covid-19 crisis, even more students are and will be struggling financially. Charities such as YGAM and their new Student Hub website are vital for students. It is crucial to provide advice on how to make the most of university life while avoiding the risks.”

YGAM will continue to work with the NUS in helping to provide bespoke information to its student audiences, detailing how to stay safe from gaming and gambling harms while enjoying life in further education.

It comes as YGAM warned that the autumn of 2020 could see a rise in gambling and gaming behaviour among higher education students, due to increased social isolation and anxiety relating to the ongoing pandemic. Research commissioned by the charity and undertaken by Red Brick Research in 2019 found that 264,000 students are at some risk of gambling-related harm in the UK, while around 88,000 may already be problem gamblers.

Pete Woodward, Head of Delivery for University and Student Engagement at YGAM, said: “Student life has changed dramatically this year due to Covid-19, and this could have a detrimental impact on student wellbeing and increase the risks associated with gaming and gambling at university.  Our Student Hub is the first of its kind; supporting students to enjoy a university experience free from gaming and gambling-related harm.  We will use this online portal to gather insights and share findings with our partners at other universities and students’ unions.”

In May 2019 the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised “gaming disorder” as addictive behaviour disorder for the first time, and YGAM’s research (before the COVID-19 pandemic) found that 17% of students play digital games every day and a further 18% say they play digital games most days.

Created with input from current students, the new Student Hub features bespoke advice and guidance to help students make the most out of university while avoiding the risks of gaming and gambling-related harm. The website features interactive elements along with lived-experience case studies to further highlight the real issues of gambling and gaming harms on university campuses.

You can visit the Student Hub here: www.students.ygam.org