We enjoyed a great online meeting about gambling harms in Glasgow today. It was organised by Glasgow Council for Volunary Services and aimed to discuss ways for third sector involvement. There were several interesting and informative inputs, and we’ll detail these in a later post.

It was refreshing to hear from community workers who while emphasising that they are not experts on gambling, some saying they know little about all the issues, they are committed to taking it seriously and include it in their work. This reminds those of us who have been involved with gambling harms for quite a long time that there is a big world ‘out there’ we need to join with. And this does not involve ‘experts’ or complicated reports, policy papers etc.

Over the years, we have come across people who have been startled into action when they are presented with some awareness about gambling today. The main reason we are touring our film One Last Spin is quite simple. It is to bring to communities and the voluntary third sector organisations a focus of awareness. It may be something quite new to people or it may add a little to their knowledge.

There are hundreds of organisations across Glasgow and many will find direct relevance to gambling harms. Health, particularly mental health, finance, addiction services, suicide prevention, education, young people – these and many more. We’ll be starting community screenings in January, initially in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, then throughout Scotland. If your organisation would like to host an event please do get in touch. Drop us a line at info@gamblingwatchscotland.org.uk

At today’s event Evelyn Anderson of the Citizens’ Advice Bureau made a crucial point. In communicating with different groups, different approaches are needed: sharing needs to be tailored as well as possible to the different groups.  That’s why we are keen to see our film used by different groups in Glasgow as appropriate to their audiences who they know best. We have not the slightest wish to design ‘one size fits all’ events. The film can be used in many ways. By the way, the CAB gambling training for frontline staff, and its integration into advising citizens is something we should really celebrate as how awreness translates into a service’s practice.

Our film is a small contribution to raising awareness in Glasgow. We believe in cascading. Events like today reach 40 people but each of them may ‘cascade’ to many others. At a simple and human scale horizontal sharing at a grassroots level across the city will gradually then quickly raise awareness in the ‘ordinary’ citizen, as well as impacting the work of third sector organisations.

It was great to hear enthusiasm today for film and the arts to raise awareness. People don’t want or need tons of facts. We were treated to a showing of the short animation made by young people at the Govan Youth Information Project. In a few entertaining minutes we learned from the young people’s research of the startling disparity between the number of alcohol and gambling outlets in Govan comapred with leafy Bearsden. Such projects and the theatre and film work done by Fast Forward’s gambling education work offer inspiration for how we can raise awareness across the population.

Today’s event connects to the Glasgow Gambling Summit last month. This was produced by Glasgow City Council and Scotland Public Health. Dr Michelle Gillies who’s been deeply involved with looking at gambling in Glasgow from a public health perspective gave us an overview of the summit. Today was published online a recording of the presentations at the summit which you can watch here. Also last month a motion wa stabled at Holyrood calling for disengagement between gambling advertising and sport. So it looks like we are beginning to see policy makers and statutory serrvices preparing for significant actions after many years of serious discussion. This, and Glasgow university’s world renown for its acedmic excellence in gambling research. Academics, politicians, experts from many field. Then us, on the ground as it were. Yes, there are difficulties in joining up the many ‘stakeholders’ but for ourselves we have invariably found nothing but willingness to engage. People have seen themselves as people rather than professors, doctors or MPs.

Today’s event was friendly and human scale and let’s look forward to more of the same. And let’s go on cascading!





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