Rotary Club of Belfast

Gambling Prevention Programme for Young People

GM1Prospective member Gillian McAtackney gave a most interesting, informative clear and concise address on the role of GamCare and its Young People’s Gambling Prevention programme to the Club zoom meeting on 15 February. She advised that GamCare’s Young People’s Gambling Prevention Programme, Big Deal, has been developed to help young people make informed safer choices, prevent gambling related harm and provide early interventions for young people 11-18. She noted that gambling is the least talked about addiction with young people but has a higher rate of suicide ideation and revealed that 11% of 11 – 16 year olds spent their own money on gambling in the last week compared with 7% using e-cigarette, 6% smoking tobacco and 5% taking illegal drugs. In fact Northern Ireland has the highest rates of problem gambling in UK - 4 times higher than GB and 3 times higher than the Republic of Ireland. She pointed out that GamCare provide information, advice and support for anyone affected by gambling related harms and, although operating for 23 years, have not had a presence in NI before. Their aspiration is that all young people (11-18) who are at risk or have developed a problem with gambling or are affected by someone close to them can access age appropriate support via their helpline, web chat, chatroom or website. The simple criterion is the answer “yes” to the question: “Are you worried about your gambling or about the gambling of someone close to you?”.

Gillian will be joining the Club as a member and reflected that she had first been involved with Rotary as a member of the “incredible” 2013 Group Exchange Study visit to New Zealand (see here) which was led by PP Marnette Lyons. This was, she noted, the opportunity of a lifetime and had highlighted the positive impact of the work of Rotary.

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