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UKGC approves funding for North East gambling program

UK gambling commission

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has provided the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) with £750,000 to fund a program dedicated to promoting responsible gambling in the North East of England.

The ADPH is a peak body that represents the Directors of Public Health in the UK.

The funding will be used to solve gambling-related harm in the region, which is known for its high gambling rates. The regional pilot program will run for three years and examine ways gambling harm can be reduced.

The UKGC’s Regulatory Settlements Fund will provide the funding which will aid in the creation of new ways to support individuals affected by problem gambling in the North East.

The ADPH North East Chair and director of Public Health at Durham County Council, Amanda Healy, revealed she was grateful for the support and looked forward to working with new partners.

“Evidence has shown the North East has higher rates of gambling-related harms than any other region, so we welcome this funding which will enable us to help our most affected communities in the best possible way,” Healy said.

“We are looking forward to working with like-minded partners across the region and are grateful for their support in developing the programme.”

The funding will also be used to devise new ways to refer individuals for treatment, train responsible gambling staff, and develop problem gambling awareness campaigns. During its development, the program will enlist the aid of people that have first hand experience with problem gambling.

The problem gambling program will be independently evaluated for its efficiency, and part of the funding will go into hiring experts to lead the evaluation. This will ensure that individuals are given the help they need.

The ADPH revealed that experts will lead the evaluation from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) North East and North Cumbria.

Both former and recovering gamblers addicts will be included in the research. Their various experiences will contribute to the program and provide it with essential insights into preventing and treating problem gambling.

Professor Eileen Kaner — the director of NIHR ARC North East and North Cumbria, and Newcastle University’s head of research — emphasized the importance of research of this nature in the region. She further stated that she was pleased the bid for the funding was endorsed.

“Our work to evaluate this pilot programme will help us to develop new evidence around what works when it comes to reducing harm, which can be used by policy makers to shape new and more effective support programmes for the future,” Kaner added.

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council Public Health director Sarah Bowman-Abouna also shared her thoughts on the program. She pointed out that gambling addiction was dealing significant harm to people in the North East and the funding would go a long way in helping the region fend it off.

“We will take a public health approach to this work, focussing on prevention and promotion within a whole systems approach,” Bowman-Abouna said.

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