Letter from the Chief Executive: A more secure future
The last couple of months have been pretty hectic for us following the Responsible Gambling Fund’s decision to withdraw as the distributor of funds raised by the industry for research, education and treatment. But the effort has been really worth it: working closely with our new funder, the GREaT Foundation, we quickly put in place a contract to run the national HelpLine for three years from 1 October. We’ve also secured funding for treatment to the end of March 2012 but also, more importantly, are discussing a further three year agreement for treatment with GREaT. So the prospects for a secure and stable basis for planning and delivering a coherent programme of advice, support and treatment – and adding to that provision for education and prevention, particularly for young people and their parents and teachers – have never been brighter.
As I write this I have just read what Jeremy Hunt has been saying to the Culture Select Committee about gambling. While admitting that the current Gambling Act had not been a success, he also emphasised that for Government it was vital that measures were in place to encourage responsible gambling, to ensure problem gambling does not increase, and to provide the necessary treatment for those in trouble, before changes to regulation would be considered.
I think that the new partnership now emerging between ourselves and GREaT, and the development of our own existing partnerships around the country, can go a long way towards giving the politicians the assurances they need. There is a real will to get things moving, and to make sure that money is focussed on the frontline where it matters. This should be welcome to the industry, to Government and, most importantly, to those who need our help – after all, they are who it is all about.
That’s why we’ve made partnership the theme of our annual conference this year. This edition of GamShare also focuses on our model for working with our treatment Partners around the country, including the role our clinical training team plays in supporting them. We’re also giving you a few highlights from our Annual Review, to be published on the day of our conference. Despite standstill funding, we still managed to provide counselling for more people and answer more HelpLine calls in 2010/11. And we plan much more for this year and next.