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BigDeal - Hollyoaks ‘Darren’ Supports GamCare’s Young People’s Website

29th November 2012

Hollyoaks star, Ashley Taylor Dawson, is lending his support to ‘BigDeal’, the new young people’s website launched today by GamCare.

Ashley, who plays ‘Darren’ in the show has researched what can happen when gambling gets out of hand. Launching the website, Ashley said: 

‘I am really pleased to be working with GamCare on the BigDeal website. I have learned a lot about gambling and how things can go wrong through playing my Hollyoaks character, Darren. I know there are a lot more Darrens out there and I want to help promote the message that for those who wish to gamble there are things you should do to keep it safe and this website shows how to keep it that way and where to get help if things go wrong’. 

‘Darren’ has been a Hollyoaks regular for many years now, yet it is his gambling habit which has really struck a chord with many viewers - some of whom have personally told Ashley how close Darren’s story is to their own experience.

BigDeal is designed for young people aged 12-18 and will include films and interactive quizzes. It gives information about how gambling works, advice about risks and guidance on where to get help. It also provides a space for young people to share their own experiences of gambling. 

BigDeal’s design is based on feedback from young people who had very clear ideas about what they wanted the website to offer. Funding for the website is through private sponsorship raised by GamCare. 

Anthony Jennens, GamCare Chairman said:

‘Young people are potentially a very vulnerable group as far as gambling is concerned. Ever since we published ‘Beating the Odds: Preventing Teenage Problem Gambling’ we have been campaigning for better education about responsible gambling. We know that 2% of 12-15 year olds are problem gamblers – double the adult prevalence rate – and that parents seldom talk to their children about gambling. BigDeal is an important step in plugging this information gap.’

GamCare is promoting the website through social media to try to attract as many young people as possible to look at the BigDeal website. GamCare is also calling on teachers and youth leaders to do all they can to promote the website to young people.

Jane Rigbye, GamCare’s Head of Youth Services and Policy Development said:

‘BigDeal is a fantastic resource for young people – and for teachers. We have recently launched our first community education programme for young people in Bristol, so we know what young people want to hear about and have built this into the design of BigDeal. Our challenge now is to make sure that as many young people get to hear about it and take a look at the site.’

Big Deal can be found at: from Thursday 29 November.

Editor notes

1. GamCare is the national provider of education, advice, practical help, support and treatment for anyone affected by problem gambling.  Founded in 1997, the GamCare HelpLine receives nearly 100 calls a day with more than 85% of clients rating the service as “very good” or “excellent”. In 2011/12 GamCare treated more than 2,700 clients. Around 90% of gamblers in treatment are assessed as problem gamblers; this reduces to around 30% at the end of treatment. GamCare’s return on investment is estimated at 7:1.

2.GamCare supports best practice within the gambling industry through training, GamCare Certification, consultation and training. GamCare Certification is an internationally recognised third party accreditation available for gaming, betting and lottery products across land-based, mobile gaming and internet platforms. GamCare training is face-to-face or via GamCare ExTra e-learning.

3. BigDeal is the brand name for the GamCare youth services campaign. BigDeal will link to the GamCare website for immediate access to the full range of GamCare services including the GamCare HelpLine which is open from 8.00 a.m. to midnight every day on Freephone 0808 8020 133.

4. Hollyoaks is produced by Lime Pictures (formerly known as 'Mersey Television' prior to its takeover by All3Media) and is filmed mainly at studios in Childwall, Liverpool. The main transmission of the show currently broadcasts at 18:30 each weekday on Channel 4, with the launch of Channel 4+1 in 2007 allowing viewers to see the main broadcast replayed at 19.30. Ashley Taylor Dawson, plays Darren Osbourne.  Darren is a long running character in the series who has problems with gambling and at one point lost the family business and the Hollyoaks public house ‘The Dog In The Pond’.

Media Enquiries

Please contact Ruth Halahmy, Marketing and Fundraising Officer, GamCare by phone on 020 7801 7028 or by email [email protected].

Images available on request