Merkur UK extend safer gambling commitment to support ground-breaking Mindful Resilience Programme

Merkur UK Mindful Resilience Programme safer gambling
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Safer gambling goes beyond the relationship a brand has with its customers. The latest initiative undertaken by Merkur UK demonstrates the importance of training health care professionals to engage with young people and help them get the help they might need


Merkur Group UK has chosen Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15 May) to underline its commitment to safer gambling by agreeing to support the latest phase of the Mindful Resilience Programme that’s being pioneered by leading third sector charity YGAM and builds on the first phase of the pilot programme developed by YGAM with Betknowmore in partnership with Bournemouth University. The Mindful Resilience Programme is a pilot initiative which has been designed to enable health care professionals to access quality training on gambling and gaming harm in young people under the age of 25-years. The Programme has been designed by psychologists and informed by academics, health professionals, and individuals with lived experience. The programme also promotes signposting to the National Treatment Network and NHS for patients needing support.

Explaining the background to the Programme, which received formal accreditation from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), YGAM’s Programme Lead Paul Thomas said: “With more exposure to all technologies, the potential risk for gaming and gambling harms has become obvious to many working for the welfare of young people. For a long time, charities working to educate and safeguard young people have been told by health care professionals of a gap in knowledge and support across the health sector.”

The programme equips health care professionals and those in training –with the knowledge and understanding required to identify, support and refer young people who are experiencing harms related to gaming and gambling.

A nurse who completed the training recently praised the impact of the programme saying, “It gave me practical knowledge about how I can offer effective guidance and helpful resources at a crucial time in a young person’s development. As a public health professional, I feel better equipped to take action and help break down damaging patterns of behaviour and minimise the risk of future harm.”

The training is free, available in a variety of formats, and contains practical insight and includes information that can be distributed to young people. The overarching aim is to ensure that risks surrounding gaming and gambling harm are identified and given increased priority by training health care professionals who are limited in time and who may not treat these issues directly, but who are able to engage and ‘hold the hand’ of the young person into getting the help they might need. Currently being piloted in Greater London and the home counties the vision is to roll-out the programme more widely after extensive evaluation. Last year the initiative received a public endorsement from the Shadow Minister for Mental Health. Dr Rosena Alin-Khan MP, herself a London-based medical doctor, describing the programme as ‘pioneering’.

Sascha Blodau, General Manager, Merkur UK said: “We are delighted to be able to play a small part in helping to fund an initiative that directs resource into helping to address such an important part of the safer gambling narrative. Our 360 Program, which we launched in September 2020 is dedicated to ensuring that all of our 2,500 UK staff understand what we mean by safer gambling and equipping our consumer-facing colleagues with the information and practical skills required to turn a philosophy into a deliverable.”

He added: “We have a strong working relationship with YGAM not least through the City and Guilds assured training of our 250 venue managers which they delivered. As a business we feel strongly that Safer Gambling goes beyond just the connection that we have with our customers. Our view is that it should be a commitment that gambling entertainment businesses have with society at large. This training connects with the hearts and minds of health professionals, who have a powerful role to play in protecting young people and the vulnerable. We are delighted to play a small part in helping deliver this pilot programme.”

Ian Shanahan, YGAM’s Director Of Business Development and Fundraising said: “We’re delighted to receive this fantastic support and commitment from Merkur for the Mindful Resilience Programme. It is a crucially important programme in our portfolio and one that is attracting interest from the health sector. This support will help us continue to grow the initiative to increase its reach, profile and impact.”

After signing up to take part in the Mindful Resilience programme, health care professionals are offered an online workshop or a bespoke training session to meet the needs of their organisation. Once a training session has been completed, participants are given access to the programme’s comprehensive and free online resources which provide up-to-date information to help identify and support young people affected by gaming and gambling harms.



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