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You bet there’s help for gamblers…  and for those whose lives they wager

You bet there’s help for gamblers… and for those whose lives they wager

What’s an odds-on safe bet to say about gambling? That it makes rich bookies richer, and poor punters poorer? Definitely. That it makes victims of partners, family, friends, and colleagues? Definitely. That effective, confidential help is freely available to gamblers and their victims? Definitely again. CADAS volunteer Steve Russell discovers some of the many agencies working together to make a winning difference in Cumbria and Lancashire.    

On the last day of September 2021 Public Health England published its evidence review of gambling-related harms. Just seven weeks later Cumbria County Council responded to the grim findings by running a seminar to encourage and facilitate greater co-operation, knowledge sharing and support for each other amongst the many organisations and individuals in Cumbria and Lancashire already working hard to tackle what is now fast becoming a serious public health issue.

But if the seminar was mainly for interested professionals, the one message they all wanted to get across was simple: if you think you might need help because your own  or somebody else’s gambling is blighting your life, you need only ask. Help is available, most often immediately. And it really doesn’t matter whether you’re the gambler or someone affected by their gambling.

“Beacon Counselling Trust (BCT) offers a free confidential support service to anyone at risk of or experiencing gambling-related harm… and there’s no waiting list,” says Neil Platt, Clinical Director at BCT, which works across the North West, partnering with the NHS and agencies such as CADAS.

One man on a mission to help gamblers and their victims is Terry Kilgariff. Formerly a compulsive gambler, he spent decades ruining his own and other people’s lives. But he’s been clean for five years and counting now, and is chairman of Gambling Harms North West Alliance, a group of ex-gamblers and affected others determined to make a positive difference.

“When it comes to gambling, I’ve been there, done that, got the T-shirt,” says Terry. But I’m now a community connector, a first point of contact for anyone suffering from gambling harms. And I do mean anyone.”

So just how much is our gambling getting out of our control? Well, if you apply Public Health England’s national gambling review findings to Cumbria’s total population of almost 500,000, this is how things stack up:

  • 40% (200,000) gamble… and this does not include the National Lottery
  • 4% (22,000) are at risk because of their gambling
  • 5% (2,500) are problem gamblers
  • 7% ( 35,000) adversely affected by someone else’s gambling.

 

Worryingly, the betting industry’s retreat from the high street onto the internet has made it easier for children to gamble. Any child with a bank account and a debit card who wants to give gambling a go can simply use their phone, ignoring or circumventing any age restrictions. More and more women are gambling, too. Amongst adult gamblers only 20% are women but their numbers are rising at twice the rate for men. Women also make up 80% of those harmed by someone else’s gambling.

The Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust (LSCFT) is overseeing a programme called Gambling Harms, being run in partnership with the previously mentioned Beacon Counselling Trust. Its aim is to reduce problematic gambling across all of our communities.

The Gambling Harms programme has several initiatives, amongst them:

  • Treatment and support for individuals affected by own or another’s gambling
  • Training to improve professional intervention and counselling
  • Education in schools
  • Workplace charter.

The LSCFT was the first such Trust to sign up to the workplace charter, an idea supported by the Unite trade union that recognises gambling as a health and wellbeing issue, and aims to deal fairly but effectively with gamblers in the workforce who need help.

“It’s not perfect yet, and we’ve still got a long way to go, but we’d like to keep driving the Gambling Harms workplace charter forward,” says Kevin O’Hara, LSCFT Partnership and Development Manager.

There are many other initiatives to tackle the scourge of problem gambling in our communities, amongst them one aimed at helping Lancashire’s South Asian gamblers to beat the habit. In Cumbria, Copeland Borough Council has a social prescribing programme that aims to help people with all sorts of mental health and wellbeing issues by taking advantage of the power of the community to offer non-medical support, involvement and guidance. It’s already helping people suffering bereavement, debt and other problems, and now it’s being used to help gambling victims.

 

If you or someone you know needs help because of gambling-related harm, but you don’t know where to turn, probably the easiest way to access it is via a free call to the National Gambling Helpline operated by GamCare on 0808 8020 133. Or you can visit their website at  https://www.gamcare.org.uk. They provide a terrific signposting service and will be able to facilitate a local referral to the most appropriate treatment pathway for you. All you have to do is make that call and ask.

Safe needle disposal now available in Cumbria

Safe needle disposal now available in Cumbria

Since October 2021, CADAS have been trialling a project that aims to better understand the needs of people using Image and Performance-Enhancing Drugs, through providing safe needle disposal in their local communities. ‘Be Sharp Smart’ helps people to obtain free, clean, medical-grade sharps and provides a place where used needles can be safely disposed of.… Continue Reading

CADAS appoints manager to deliver vital rehabilitation help in south Cumbria

CADAS appoints manager to deliver vital rehabilitation help in south Cumbria

A woman with an outstanding track record in leading staff to support vulnerable people has been appointed to run Cumbria Alcohol and Drugs Advisory Service’s operation in the south of the county.   Gail Jenson’s career has included posts in charity, education and the public sector  — all making a positive difference to people’s lives… Continue Reading

Regular but moderate alcohol can trigger irregular and immoderate health

Regular but moderate alcohol can trigger irregular and immoderate health

If you routinely enjoy a drink or two — even if you don’t consider your intake excessive — could it be putting you at greater risk of developing serious health problems like cancer? CADAS volunteer Steve Russell looks at the latest findings. Pretty well everyone understands that smoking causes cancer yet only a third of… Continue Reading

Feeling hangxious?

Feeling hangxious?

It’s payback time and you’ve got a hangover. This time, though, you’re feeling anxious as well as ill. Why is that? Cumbria Alcohol & Drug Advisory Service volunteer Steve Russell explains. You’re suffering hangxiety or, to give it its uncontracted title, hangover anxiety. Essentially, you’re experiencing a chemical imbalance in your brain. In fact, you’re… Continue Reading

New IPEDs project launched to help Image and Performance Enhancing Drug Users

New IPEDs project launched to help Image and Performance Enhancing Drug Users

Our new pilot project to understand the needs of people using Image and Performance Enhancing Drugs has started   CADAS have launched a pilot project to better understand the needs of people using Image and Performance Enhancing Drugs (IPED) in the county and to reduce any potential harm they might cause to themselves. The scheme… Continue Reading

Walk into your Spring

Walk into your Spring

As you know, CADAS has been a partner in Active Cumbria’s ‘Walking for Health’ project for quite a while now, training staff and volunteers to lead short group walks for people of any level of fitness around the county.  Whilst Covid restrictions were in place, these had to be halted, but with spring in the… Continue Reading

Latest News from CADAS

Could you be our next fantastic Fundraising Coordinator?

Could you be our next fantastic Fundraising Coordinator?

Fundraising Coordinator 15 hours per week £10,077 actual / £25,194 FTE   Cumbria Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service (CADAS) have an exciting vacancy to lead the development and delivery of our Fundraising strategy. The Fundraising Coordinator will have a successful track record of campaigns, donations and events and excellent communication and interpersonal skills. They will… Continue Reading

Show support for James to take on The Stinky Fish Challenge

Show support for James to take on The Stinky Fish Challenge

Roasted coffee beans, fresh baked bread and sizzling bacon are food smells which make your tummy rumble with excitement. But let’s forget about those and talk about surströmming, one of the world’s smelliest foods, which tastes pretty good, but its strong rotten egg smell will make you feel sick before you even get to try… Continue Reading

£482.50 raised for CADAS at The Body Shop Home Event

£482.50 raised for CADAS at The Body Shop Home Event

Last Thursday (17th March 2022), CADAS and The Body Shop Home met with a group of lovely ladies at Shills of Cockermouth, for a night of fun, games, make-up tutorials, and more, all to raise much-needed funds for CADAS. The night started well with an icebreaker game of Bitchy Bingo, hosted by Rachel Kaplan from… Continue Reading

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Testimonials
CADAS Carlisle
"I have enjoyed my first meeting. It is a relief to talk to people who know how you are feeling and to listen to other people"
- Parent, Carer and Family Support Group
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Testimonials
CADAS Carlisle
“Really pleased with the content and structure of the course. Allowed time for much needed discussion and debate.”
– Drug and Alcohol Awareness for Practitioners Course Attendee
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Testimonials
CADAS Carlisle
"My support from Collette and CADAS over the last few weeks has been very helpful. I really don’t know how I would have managed without the support”
- Parent, Carer and Family Support Group

Our Impact

413

Adult clients intensively supported last year

2688

Members of the community and practitioners who attended training/workshops

684

Professionals trained by us last year

2925

Volunteer hours logged by 39 dedicated volunteers

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Company registration number: 2585199 | Charity number: 1002201