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October newsletter

Hello there,

It's been a busy few weeks here at GwL, so there are a few things we wanted to tell you about, plus a couple of important dates for your diary.

After the successful premiere of our new education programme in London last month, we were in Belfast last week to launch it in Northern Ireland. We held an event in Stormont attended by MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly), education and treatment specialists, and civil servants.      

RTE News report covering our Northern Ireland education programme launch

The launch was extremely well received and we enjoyed some positive engagements with many people on the day, as well as a huge amount of media coverage from ITV, BBC, RTE, the Belfast Telegraph, and dozens of others. Robbie Butler MLA – chair of the All-Party Group on Reducing Harm Related to Gambling – introduced the event, whilst Philip McGuigan MLA (vice-chair of the APG), provided some powerful closing remarks referring to his own struggle with gambling addiction.

We're delighted to report that the programme was delivered in the first of many schools in Northern Ireland yesterday by our very own Barry Fennell.  

The GwL team on the steps of Stormont after the launch

Last Saturday (October 2), we were at Annie Ashton's 'Light up for Luke's Law' walk in Leicester. Saturday would have been Luke's 41st birthday, so Annie organised a walk in his memory.

Despite the unfavourable weather, well over 100 people turned out in the wet to support Annie and remember Luke. The walk ended at Leicester City FC's stadium, where 41 blue balloons were released in memory of Luke.  You can read more about the walk in this BBC article

41 blue balloons were released outside Leicester City FC's ground for Luke

Earlier this week, we attended the Social Market Foundation's event 'Gambling and the Red Wall: traditional pastime or modern menace?' at the Conservative Party Conference. The panel included Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP, Richard Holden MP, Dr Heather Wardle and Carl Shoben. Bereaved families were mentioned several times, which highlights the impact we are having on the debate. If you'd like to watch the event, click here for the recording

You may have already heard, but Chris Philp MP has been appointed Gambling Minister and will oversee the Gambling Act review and Nadine Dorries MP is the new Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, replacing John Whittingdale MP and Oliver Dowden MP respectively. We're hoping to meet with both in the coming months. Nadine Dorries has been Minister for Suicide Prevention and Chris Philp was very supportive of the stake reduction on fixed-odds betting terminals.

And, as promised, we've got two important dates for your diary. Firstly, this Monday (11th), a documentary presented by Paul Merson exploring gambling addiction is on BBC One at 9pm. Several GwL families feature, so please do tune in.

Secondly, the date for our parliamentary reception has been moved back a month and will now be on the afternoon of Wednesday December 8th in the Houses of Parliament. Previous events have heard speeches from ministers and other senior parliamentarians, and have been attended by representatives from treatment, education and research organisations across the gambling landscape. But, as ever, GwL families and other experts by experience of gambling harms will be the most important attendees. More details will follow in due course but for now please do save the date.

Put the date in your diary!

Last but by no means least, we just we wanted to let you know about The Big Step's latest event – and apologise for the late notice! Dulwich Hamlet FC have recently declared their support for the campaign to kick gambling adverts out of football, so tomorrow (Saturday 9th) members of The Big Step will be walking from Brentford, Crystal Palace and West Ham stadiums to the Dulwich Hamlet game against Billericay at Champion Hill at 3pm.

If you’re in London and at a loose end, please do join one of the walks – you may even get a free ticket for the match! For more info, follow this link
As ever, thank you for your support.

All the best,
Charles Ritchie
Co‑Chair of Trustees

P.S. If you haven’t already, please do sign Annie Ashton's petition to end so-called “free bets”. It has already been responded to by the Government but if it gets 100,000 signatures it will considered for debate in Parliament.

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