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December newsletter

Hello there,

I hope you are keeping safe and well. As ever, it’s been a rather busy month so I’ll dive right in.

I’d firstly like to say a huge thank you to everyone who attended our event in Parliament on Wednesday, especially all the families (pictured below) that made the journey to London.

We were collectively calling for every gambling-related death to be properly investigated and lessons learned to inform what changes must be made to legislation and regulation. As we know, hundreds die every year because of gambling: families know what killed their loved ones, but our lawmakers and regulators are not learning the lessons.

The event itself was hosted by Paul Blomfield MP and attended by over 25 parliamentarians, including Minister Chris Philp, who’s responsible for the Gambling Act review. We’re very grateful to the Minister, who stayed after his speech to listen to Liz’s incredibly powerful speech despite being called to vote, and who returned to speak with several families. Many of the key parliamentarians, including the Minister (pictured below), were photographed with boards pledging to support Gambling with Lives’ work.

The event was a great success: it was the first time that families had had the chance to meet since the pandemic broke. It was very powerful, and we hope the first of many meetings where we will be able to meet each other face-to-face. It was very successful, not just in terms of gaining political support within Westminster but also giving families the chance to engage with MPs and to have their voices heard.  

Despite a very busy news day, it was covered by media across the board including BBC, ITV, Sky News, Channel 5, below, as well as full-page write-ups in The Daily Mail and earlier in The Observer.

Channel 5 News report from December 8th
Elsewhere, we were very proud to support Annie Ashton earlier this month, who wrote to Leicester City Football Club asking them to end all of their gambling partnerships: the club has five – more than any other Premier League team. BBC Sport covered the story, and the club has offered to meet with Annie to discuss her concerns.

We are also pleased to report that Annie’s petition to ban so-called ‘free bets’ reached 30,000 signatures this week too – well done Annie! The petition will run until December 21st, so please do sign and share it if you haven’t already.

On to our education programme, and the rollout has continued apace in Northern Ireland, with a BBC piece featuring Pete and Sadie Keogh in the pipeline, currently scheduled for December 29th. I’m delighted to announce that we’ve recently partnered with the Lancashire Cricket Foundation to deliver the programme in a selection of schools across Greater Manchester. 

This month, we also delivered our programme to social workers across three Anglia Ruskin University campuses. We were really pleased with the feedback from these sessions, such as this below.

A quick update on The Big Step: the campaign to kick gambling adverts out of football has signed up another five football clubs this month, bringing the total to 14. You can read more on that here. There's also a Big Step walk in Scotland currently being planned – details to follow in early 2022.

That’s all from me, except to say I wish you all an early, but nonetheless, happy Christmas and New Year, and, as ever, thank you for all your invaluable support this year.

All the best,

Charles Ritchie
Co-Chair of Trustees

P.S. If you’re stuck for Christmas present ideas this year, please do check out Chance United, which is run by Michael Louth, who has designed a striking Big Step football shirt made out of powerful messages and stats written on betting slips. All profits will be donated to GwL.
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