Ara Gambling Service: A Year in Review

It’s the end of our financial year, and an opportunity for us to look back on our successes.  In our gambling service we supported 860 people suffering with gambling harms – this represents an increase of more than 70% on the number we helped in the 2019-2020 year, and is an incredible achievement on the part of the team.  In a year of pandemic, when fewer people have contacted the national gambling helpline due to factors such as increased anxiety and a lack of privacy during lockdowns, we have managed to increase the number of people that we helped by nearly two-thirds from the previous year.  In our young people education and prevention initiatives, we delivered workshops to over 2,600 young people and professionals working with young people throughout Wales and the South-West at over 150 organisations.

This success has been achieved by increasing our partnership working, and raising our profile to facilitate self-referrals within our geographical footprint.  We met the challenges of social distancing by complimenting telephone counselling with ‘walk-and-talk’ options, always ensuring that our interventions are client-led, and tailored to the person.  Our improvements in well-being and reducing gambling harms for clients moving through our service remain extremely high, despite the turmoil of the last year and all of the competing drains on people’s resilience.

Our 93% planned endings speak to the quality of the interventions we offer; I cannot praise all of the Ara Gambling Service team highly enough for their dedication and commitment to support our clients through recovery.  Our work with criminal justice, lived-experience groups, universities, army veteran services, and culturally and linguistically diverse communities has ensured that we cut through the stigma and shame of gambling addiction, and that sufferers know there is free and confidential support available for them, and their loved ones.

Our numbers speak for themselves, and the dramatic year-on-year increases of people supported validate our place-based approach in diverse communities.  But we must not relax.  With 4,000 problem gamblers in Bristol, 5,000 in Wiltshire, around 20,000 in Wales and more in Cornwall, Somerset, and Gloucestershire, the year 2021-22 will see us stepping up our efforts to reach even more people who desperately need our support.  This is an exciting year where we have lots of new projects and initiatives, working with partners new and existing on ways to increase the great work that we so.  We’re ready for the challenge.

Ara Gambling Service: A Year in Review

Robbie Thornhill

Chief Operating Officer – Ara

Find out more about Ara Gambling Service

Ara Gambling Service is a trusted partner of GamCare