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On Wednesday 19th April, Beacon Counselling Trust held the ‘Sufficient Evidence for Action’ Gambling-Related Harms conference at the Holiday Inn, Liverpool.

The aim of the day was to engage with a wide variety of organisations across the region to gain support with local systems and place-based approach to tackling gambling-related harms.

During the day, we heard from a number of speakers providing different perspectives and approaches to their work in this field and celebrated some of the success BCT has had in engaging with diverse communities and statutory services, whilst also looking at the innovative steps taken to engage with this issue.

The conference was opened by the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside Jeanie Bell, who spoke about the issue of gambling-related harm across Merseyside and how a police force Merseyside are looking to engage with the subject before our keynote speakers Anna Hargrave Lead Commissioner from GambleAware, talked about the new regional approach to the commissioning process. Joy Allen the Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham gave the audience an insight into their work in the North East in becoming the first police force to sign the Workplace Charter to Reduce Gambling Harms.

We also heard from several members of the BCT team, including Clinical Director Neil Platt who provided an outline for the day and insight into BCT’s strategy for the future. Lauren Campbell our Treatment Manager informed the audience of the pathways of support for any individual experiencing harm. Programmes Manager Ian Whiteside gave an overview of the vast early intervention and education offer available to those working in communities across the North West.

Sian McLear offered an engaging lived experience perspective as she shared how she had been impacted by gambling-related harms, whilst Suhayl Patel looked at the issue from the point of view of diverse communities as he discussed his work on the ‘Breaking The Sharam’ programme.

Focus then turned to innovation as Helen Parry from Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB discussed the work undertaken on their male suicide campaign and the new Football Untold Podcasts created in collaboration with Beacon Counselling Trust. Paul Irwin founder of TryLife gave the audience an insight into how a choice based interactive film could help reduce gambling harms.

The day closed with two excellent examples of best practice across the region as Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Trust through Kevin O’Hara and Blackburn with Darwen through Colin Hughes showed what successful collaboration with BCT looks like, and how this can be a model for all placed based organisations and services to help tackle this issue.

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