William Kløverød Griffiths is the Programme Manager for the ALLIANCE’s Scotland Reducing Gambling Harm Programme, who focuses on promoting lived experience involvement in the delivery of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Related Harms. He works with people with lived experience of gambling related harms to put their voice at the heart of action to reduce those harms. He is interested in taking a public health approach to reducing gambling harms and is a firm believer in strengthening the third sector’s voice across Scotland.
The ALLIANCE’s Scotland Reducing Gambling Harm programme aims to put the voice of people affected by gambling harms at the heart of action to reduce those harms. The programme was established in February 2020 and over the course of the last year has been engaging people with lived experience of gambling harm to identify policy priorities and accelerate the delivery of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.
Through our Humans of Scotland case studies and interviews with people with lived experience, we have learned how gambling can cause significant harm to people; including relationship breakdown; money problems; stress and anxiety; and in some extreme circumstances, suicide. We have also learned about the impact that affected others experience, and the harm people with a relative or friend experience when someone close to them is affected by gambling.
“It was all-consuming. There were days I would bet on every horse race in Britain then follow it up with a punt on an obscure overnight football match, thousands of miles away. Not so enjoyable. Gambling at that frenzied pace affected my mood and relationships, caused stress, anxiety and debt. It got to the stage where I daren’t look at my bank statements. Ironically, my salvation finally came because somebody else did just that.” Quote from a Humans of Scotland story.
In addition, the programme is establishing a PhD on engaging people with lived experience on gambling, especially focused on seldom heard groups. The programme has also supported Public Health Scotland to identify priorities to reduce gambling harm in Glasgow and has worked closely with COPE Scotland to engage people on the issue and better understand what support is available to people.
A key milestone for the programme so far has been the launch of the Lived Experience Forum, which will identify key actions and priorities to reduce gambling harm in Scotland. The work leading up to the launch has involved a number of events, and several priorities are emerging; especially the need for more treatment and support for people experiencing gambling harm, the need to reduce the level of gambling advertising, and the need to raise awareness of gambling harm amongst key groups such as GPs and Debt Advisors.