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Gambling harms prevention programme reaches record number of children and young people across Scotland

Gambling harms prevention programme reaches record number of children and young people across Scotland

Independent evaluation finds that GambleAware commissioned Scottish Gambling Education Hub reaches children and young people across all of Scotland

  • The Scottish Gambling Education Hub (The Hub) is a gambling education programme which includes toolkits, training and peer-based theatre performances, is aimed at professionals and volunteers who work with young people and families and at young people, parents and carers themselves.  
  • The Hub is an initiative commissioned by GambleAware and delivered by Scotland’s national youthwork organisation Fast Forward to tackle gambling harms amongst young people
  • Results of an independent evaluation of The Hub by research agency, IFF Research, demonstrate that its locally focused approach to early intervention and prevention methods lead to dramatic improvements in gambling harms awareness and understanding, reaching record numbers of young people across Scotland
  • As the lead commissioner working to prevent gambling harms, following a competitive tender, GambleAware is awarding £2.5m to leading organisations across England and Wales to expand The Hub’s resources and activities across Great Britain  

[London], 21 April 2022: GambleAware and Fast Forward have today published the first independent evaluation[1] of the Scottish Gambling Education Hub (The Hub), an evaluation designed to assess the impact of the youth gambling prevention programme developed and delivered by Fast Forward.[2]

Established in 2018, The Hub was designed to help prevent gambling harms among young people through early intervention and education, aimed at professionals and volunteers who work with young people. The Hub was designed to reach all local authorities across Scotland by engaging at a local level in a way that central Government sometimes cannot. This locally focused and tailored programme offers a range of free training, consultancy and resources to organisations working with children, young people and families.

The independent evaluation reveals record uptake among practitioners and youth workers, with resources and training reaching all 32 Scottish local authorities, despite COVID-19 restrictions and challenging conditions. In total, staff from more than 550 organisations received tailored training (including schools, colleges, universities, social care and health agencies); over 15,000 young people attended the peer-based theatre tour (which was later adapted into the short film ‘Trust Me’); nearly 3,000 professionals attended accredited training; and the educational toolkit developed by The Hub has been downloaded over 5,000 times.

Zoë Osmond, Chief Executive Officer at GambleAware, said: “Preventing gambling harms relies on reaching all communities and engaging people at a local level. That’s why we work on the ground with local delivery partners to ensure these groups get the support they need. The positive short-term impacts derived from the Scottish Education Hub’s activities with young people demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach. While we are hopeful that these results will lead to longer-term impacts and ultimately behavioural change, these initial findings represent a meaningful step towards delivering a society where all children and young people are protected from gambling harms.”

The environment for gambling and the way young people are exposed to it has altered significantly over the course of the past decade, with young people across Great Britain now growing up widely exposed to gambling marketing and advertising[3]. GambleAware research published in 2020 showed that 94% of 11-17-year-olds in Great Britain had been exposed to gambling adverts in the last month, seeing six adverts on average.

Allie Cherry-Byrnes, Chief Executive Officer at Fast Forward said: “Young people are currently more exposed to gambling and gambling advertising than ever before, leaving children and vulnerable adults at an increased risk of experiencing a range of gambling harms that may impact them financially, psychologically and physically for years to come. As the environment for gambling continues to change, so must the preventative measures and safeguards we put in place to protect those most at risk. The Scottish Gambling Education Hub represented a unique, grassroots initiative that worked holistically within local communities to nurture a safer environment – and we are extremely proud today to reveal the fantastic uptake and impact it has already achieved.

Beyond the record uptake identified by the independent evaluation, survey data reveals activities helped significantly to improve awareness and understanding of how to identify and address gambling harms across key stakeholders. Specifically, the evaluation found that 92% of practitioners said they felt confident in identifying the signs of gambling harm, compared to just 35% pre-training. It also found that more than eight in ten young people who attended the peer-based theatre tour said they were more aware of the consequences of gambling and 84% felt confident about where to turn to for support if needed.

Even more critically, the Hub also played a critical role in increasing cross-sector collaboration and triggering community engagement, with nearly 200 practitioners and local youth professionals joining as a formal part of the Hub’s network – ensuring momentum and progress will continue to build over time and deliver meaningful change.

Building on this success, GambleAware has announced the award of a £2.5m grant to expand the Gambling Education Hub Service to both England and Wales. Following a rigorous tender process with external advisors, the grant has been won by GamCare in England, in partnership with YGAM, ARA, Aquarius, Beacon, Breakeven and Neca, and by Adferiad Recovery, which will carry out the work in Wales.

The Hubs across all nations will continue to incorporate input from people with lived experience of gambling harms in the development of training content, service delivery and any supporting tools or resources. GambleAware expects that equality, diversity and inclusion policy and procedures will sit at the heart of the service design, provision and day-to-day operations.



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Key findings from evaluation of Scottish Gambling Education Hub

The review found that the Hub’s work:

  • Reached into all of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas
  • Reached over 15,800 young people through schools across 29 of 32 of Scotland’s LAs
  • Achieved approximately 5,000 downloads of the Gambling Education Toolkit
  • Provided training to almost 3,000 practitioners from various sectors across Scotland
  • Established a network of professionals (SGEN), with engagement from almost 200 professionals from across Scotland

Practitioners who engaged with the Hub felt better equipped to discuss gambling with young people and identify and support those experiencing harm from gambling. Key findings include:

It is worth noting that Covid-19 impacted on some of the Hub’s resources and activities due to restrictions on face-to-face interactions. Despite this, the Hub delivered positive short-term results and GambleAware expect that these positive short-term results will give rise to longer-term behavioural change.

About IFF

IFF Research is a full-service research agency who help their partners make better informed decisions. Established in 1965, IFF provides insight to the private, public and voluntary sector. Their experienced team provide tailor-made research solutions specialising in eight key sectors: Learning & Skills; Higher Education; Regulation; Business and Enterprise; Work, Welfare and Wellbeing; Financial Services; Energy and Environment; and Housing. IFF offers a full suite of social and market research services, including data collection, data analysis and reporting.

About GambleAware

  • GambleAware is the leading charity (Charity No. England & Wales 1093910, Scotland SC049433) commissioning the transformation of treatment and prevention services, leading public health campaigns and keeping people safe from gambling harms.
  • Up to 2.9 million people in Great Britain are at risk of harm from gambling. Gambling can harm people and their families financially, psychologically and physically. GambleAware works in close collaboration with leading organisations and experts including the NHS, government, local authorities and gambling treatment providers, to ensure that people get the information, support and treatment they need.
  • Every year GambleAware funds access to free, confidential treatment for nearly 12,000 people and over 40,000 calls to the National Gambling Helpline.
  • GambleAware is a commissioner of independent evidence-informed prevention and treatment services in partnership with expert organisations and agencies across Great Britain, with over £56 million of funding under active management.
  • In partnership with gambling treatment providers, GambleAware has spent several years methodically building structures for commissioning a coherent system of brief intervention and treatment services, with clearly defined care pathways and established referral routes to and from the NHS – a National Gambling Treatment Service.
  • The National Gambling Treatment Service brings together a National Gambling Helpline and a network of locally-based providers across Great Britain that works with partner agencies and people with lived experience to design and deliver a system, which meets the needs of individuals. This system delivers a range of treatment services, including brief intervention, counselling (delivered either face-to-face or online), residential programmes and psychiatrist led care.
  • In April 2021 GambleAware published a new five-year strategy which defined the charity’s vision of a society where people are safe from gambling harms. This vision is based on a whole-system approach, which acknowledges the many other organisations, networks and individuals, including those who have lived experience of gambling harms, that already play a key role across the system, or have the potential to do so in the future. Alongside this, GambleAware outlined its four key strategic priorities and four commissioning objectives which will help guide the charity as it strives to achieve its vision.
  • GambleAware produces public health campaigns including ‘Bet Regret’ and its Women’s Gambling Harm Prevention campaign. The charity is responsible for the design and delivery of the campaign based on best practice in public health education. See: and