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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Gambling charter signed by UCLan making them the first university to do so

The charter aims to help staff at risk of gambling related harms

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has become the first higher education institution in England to sign up to a reducing gambling charter.

The charter, which has been endorsed by the Gambling Commission, provides practical ways in which employers and trade unions can commit to promoting the health and wellbeing of staff and students who may be at risk due to gambling related harms.

Created collaboratively by trade unions, Beacon Counselling Trust and Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, it actively encourages employers, employees, students and their families to discuss gambling related harms with the aim of reducing the stigma around gambling addiction.

In addition, the charter seeks to clearly define support routes back into work if employees have needed professional medical assistance plus create policies and guidelines to ensure gambling is treated as seriously as mental health and substance misuse.

The charter is based on seven principles, including a commitment to training line managers and trade union representatives. They will receive specialist training to help them understand and signpost individuals to sources of support, with key members of UCLan’s People Team and Student Services’ Team trained in the ‘Bet You Can Help Programme’.

Ken Lee, UCLan’s Chief People Officer, said: “We’re delighted to be the first university in the country to sign the reduce gambling related harm in the workplace charter. We are committed to always looking at any new ways we can support our colleagues’ health and wellbeing as they are integral to our development and performance.

“Whilst the main focus is for us to support our employees to make healthier choices and overcome problems, we also want to highlight and support our large student community. That is why we’re investing time and money into training colleagues in student facing roles as gambling can affect any one at any time in their life.”

Large and small organisations, including a number of local authorities throughout the United Kingdom, have already signed the charter.

Jim Mowatt, Director of Education for Unite the Union, said: “Gambling related harms goes wider than the impact on the individual and covers the adverse impacts from gambling on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families, communities and society.”

It is estimated there are around 400,000 problem gamblers in the UK and with many times that number experiencing gambling-related harms. The economic burden of problem gambling is substantial, with estimates placing the annual cost in the UK to be over £1.2 billion. Recent statistics claim problem gamblers are 2.69 times more likely to have visited their GP in the last 12 months with a mental health issue and 8.54 times more likely to be accessing mental health services.

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