To consider a report by the Chief Officer, Elections and Regulatory which provides an update on the Social Inclusion Fund provided by Victoria Gate Casino and information on the work being undertaken to improve awareness of and support for problem and at risk gambling in Leeds.
The Chief Officer, Elections and Regulatory submitted a report which provided an update on the Social Inclusion Fund provided by Victoria Gate Casino and information on the work being undertaken to improve awareness of, and support for problem and at risk gambling in Leeds.
The Chair introduced and welcomed: Joanna Rowlands, Financial Inclusion Manager, Communities & Environment and Dan Hall, NHS Northern Gambling Service who spoke in detail on the following issues:
· Social Inclusion Fund – Funding targeted at projects to improve financial inclusion, alleviate poverty and mitigate the harmful effects of gambling
· Gambling awareness – The funding of campaigns to raise awareness of available support services
· Gambling Support – The provision of accommodation to support / host the Northern Gambling Services and Leeds Community Gambling Service
· Healthy Holiday’s Programme – Funding to deliver the Healthy Holiday Programme in 2019/20
· Food Poverty – Support to Fareshare, Yorkshire’s food distribution centre network Leeds and the Leeds Aid Network
· Leeds Credit Union – Assisting in accessing affordable locally based financial services
· Problem Gambling Research – Funding to commission research into problem gambling in Leeds.
· Training and Awareness Sessions
· Improving the provision of support in the city – NHS Northern Gambling Service and the Leeds Community Gambling Services
In providing further details about the NHS Northern Gambling Service, Mr Hall explained the service was based in Leeds, but would also serve the whole of the north of England and would have satellite bases in Manchester and Newcastle. The idea was that wherever you live in the North of England, you would have access to the same services and interventions as those who can easily access the main base in Leeds.
Members were informed the service would treat people with the most serious and complex needs in terms of problem Gambling. It was reported that the service would be clinically led by a Consultant Psychologist, with a team consisting of mental health nurses, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and a carer’s support worker. There would also be a research element within the service to evaluate the interventions and potentially develop future treatment models.
Referring to the community venues which would provide treatment throughout the city, Members suggested adding schools to the list of community venues.
In responding officers said, many young people had gambling issues but it was the people who were affected by the gambling associated issues who would receive the treatment and these people were not necessarily the gamblers.
With reference to referrals for assessment and the “every door is the right door” approach, the Chair asked if the Leeds Social Prescribing Service and pharmacies were aware they could make referrals.
Members were informed that anyone could make a referral but the individual concerned must be willing to engage.
Members queried how issues associated with problem gambling were measured/ monitored.
It was report that the City Council were working with Leeds Beckett University who were conducting a study into the prevalence of problem gambling in Leeds. The aim was to provide a baseline and guide funding of projects to prevent, and mitigate adverse effects of problem gambling.
Members queried if a levy could be put on Gaming Companies to tackle the issues of problem gambling.
It was report that the Victoria Gate Casino annually contributes to the Social Inclusion Fund (SIF), funding was also provided by the NHS
Referring to the Social Inclusion Fund, Members queried if funds could be targeted at a particular area.
Members were informed that it was possible to target funds at a particular area, schools in the most deprived areas of the city was put forward as an example.
The Chair thanked officers for their attendance and contribution.
(i) That the contents of the report be noted
(ii) That an update on the Victoria Gate Casino be included in the Licensing Annual Report brought to Licensing Committee and full Council in March each year.