London, 11th February 2021: This month GambleAware has appointed an external organisation to co-design and deliver an inclusive and representative GB-wide network of people with lived experience of gambling harms. It has also facilitated the formation of a specialist interest group, which will operate under the name of ‘Affected Lived Experience Research, Treatment and Support Group’, or ‘ALERTS’. This group will be for people who have lived experienced of harms associated with gambling and who have experience of treatment within the National Gambling Treatment Service.
New Inclusive and Independent, GB-Wide Network
Following a competitive process, Expert Link was chosen to work with lived experience communities to design and deliver a new entirely independent network of people with lived experience of gambling harms that will operate across Great Britain.
Equality, diversity and inclusion will be built in to the new network, with membership from across the lived experience community, including those who tend to be more marginalised and under-represented. The membership will drive the network and determine the priorities and governance arrangements, with Expert Link facilitating the start-up process. Once formed, the group will also develop sufficient capacity and resource to meaningfully participate and influence national debate and policy making across the gambling sector.
GambleAware has provided initial funding for the new network for 18 months, however the ambition is that the network will be sustainable and completely independent, including identifying and applying for its own funding sources in the longer term.
Commenting on this new independent network, Alison Clare, Research Director, GambleAware said: “We hope this new group will serve as a single, inclusive network that is representative of all people with lived experience of gambling harms across Great Britain. We know there are other lived experience groups already out there doing good work in this area, and this new group will fill any gaps and reach those who are harder to engage with. Our ambition is to see this independent network grow and develop so that it can help inform all aspects of the gambling debate, from policy and regulation, to research, treatment and prevention.”
Specialist Lived Experience of Gambling Treatment Group
GambleAware has also signed a grant agreement for a new special interest lived experience group. This new group, which members have called ‘Affected Lived Experience Research, Treatment and Support Group’, or ‘ALERTS’, is made up solely of individuals who have experience of treatment from within the National Gambling Treatment Service (NGTS).
A key aim for this specialist group, ALERTS, will be to scrutinise existing treatment services and to provide system-wide advice and guidance from a lived experience perspective about the National Gambling Treatment Service. The group will ensure there is a representative voice for people with lived experience of gambling harms at the National Clinicians Network Forum of the National Gambling Treatment Service.
Group members have identified the following priority areas for discussion at their regular meetings:
Ways to increase accessibility of treatment services by identifying barriers to entry;
How to improve equity of access to treatment and ensure it is representative of all those who experience harm;
Improving links between treatment services and other parts of the system.
GambleAware has provided initial funding for the new group for a 12-month pilot, and it will be operating as an independent advisor to GambleAware and the National Gambling Treatment Service.
Commenting on the ongoing work with this specialist group Ruth Champion, Commissioning Manager, GambleAware commented: “In order for us to ensure that the treatment services we commission are what people want and need, but also effective in preventing and reducing gambling harms, we must ensure the voices of people with lived experience are heeded. The group is already contributing to existing work which builds on the peer support system which is available through the National Gambling Treatment Service. I welcome the establishment of this new group and look forward to working with them to develop further the treatment and support that people need for gambling harms.”