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Read our latest blog posts here to find out what's happening within the Gordon Moody Association, and for interesting and informational articles related to support and help for gamblers, their friends and family.

GMA Weekly Blog 3rd April 2020

Published: 3 April 2020 by Dunc

GMA Weekly Blog 

A very warm welcome to the first of our weekly blogs. In these difficult times, from all at GMA we hope you are managing to safe and well both physically and mentally  

Covid-19 

The outbreak of Corona virus has brought about changes to all of our lifestyles that are unprecedented in our lifetime. The challenge for our organisation as with many in our sector has been immense. The response of the team here at GMA has been absolutely amazing going over and above every day to ensure the safety and welfare of our service users. Our Dudley service remains open with a skeleton staff to ensure social distancing is possible and plans are in place for any of our residents who need to self-isolate. Our team have been out at all hours sourcing the cleaning materials, PPE and essential food supplies needed to continue to run a safe service, it is this passion and commitment that makes GMA so special. We would also like to acknowledge the incredible efforts of key workers everywhere going the extra mile to support the health and wellbeing of others at this difficult time, Thank you. 

Conferences & Cornflakes 

Like many organisations many of our colleagues have moved to working at home, we have provided additional laptops, tablets and phones to move as much of our operation as we can. Working from home can prove to be a challenge especially with other family members around as they are off work or working from home too, many have children schooling at home and how can we forget our pets who insist on contributing to that important 2pm meeting! How do you prepare for your day? Do you have a designated space? Is there fresh air and natural light or are you happy dealing with those first few emails from under your duvet? Do you get up, washed and dressed as if you were attending the office or like many of us are you happy to wear something a bit more casual, are you one of those (come on own up) who works away all day in your PJ’s or just dresses from the waist up if you have a video call? Do you plan your start and finish time as well as your breaks or do you only look up from your screen when the urge to put on the kettle or raid the biscuit tin becomes too much? Whatever your style we have found from many of our colleagues and service users some form of structure to the day is helpful and as the picture shows “staying left” can help homeworking be really productive. 

GMA Online 

Our international, online, problem gambling support service Gambling Therapy is operating as usual, providing multilingual advice for anyone affected by problem gambling worldwide. Our website attracted over 5 million users in 2019 and has been recommended by the World Health Organisation as International gambling support. For more information about Gambling Therapy or to download our free phone App visit www.gamblingtherapy.org  

Our outreach therapists have also extended our support to provide online groups over video chat, our initial meeting was met with such a positive response that these groups are now held daily and we will be providing online support for people on our waiting list as well as family and friends, we are also holding online mindfulness sessions for colleagues to help with stress an anxiety at this difficult time. 

We are still accepting applications for residential treatment at GMA you can complete the application form online or contact us at [email protected] we will be taking in new residents as soon as government advice deems it safe to do so 

Dudley Purchase 

Finally, some fantastic news for GMA, the purchase of our Dudley facility has been completed. This is a hugely positive step for us as we will be able to commence with improvements to the site, a huge thank you to everyone who made this possible. We are also planning some improvements to our Beckenham site and have secured some additional office space for our core team so look out for some progress update in future blogs.;

 Stay Safe Everyone

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The Social Impact of Problem Gambling

Published: 16 April 2014 by

Anyone who gets caught up in the downward spiral of problem gambling finds only too soon that the negative impact on his or her life can be devastating. Finding money to gamble is usually the most immediate and obvious issue which brings with it enough problems, but in addition an all consuming compulsion to gamble at any cost leads to difficulties which affect employment, quality of life, family relationships and mental and physical health.   

And of course, problem gambling doesn't just affect the individual. It's estimated that for every problem gambler at least 10 other family members, friends and colleagues are also directly affected.The negative impact on wider society is only just beginning to be recognised and an analysis of those problem gamblers in the Gordon Moody Association residential treatment programme during 2012 and 2013 gives the following insights: 

Financial cost

The amounts gambled away varied between £5,000 and £3m. Of those gambling in the range £10,000 - £50,000, 59 people claimed to have gambled away a total amount of £1,225,194 with an average amount of £20,766 gambled per person.

Even for those with a job this is a sizeable amount to have to find on top of living expenses and, since the majority  were unemployed (65% in 2013, 78% in 2012), all this gambling money had to be funded from other sources - borrowing from family and friends, high street money lenders, pawnshops and loan sharks.

Many Gordon Moody Association residents also report that families remortgage their houses and go into debt themselves in order to try and help sort out the problems of their loved one.

Many problem gamblers get into huge debt and often resort to illegal activities to fund their addiction including stealing from their loved ones and their employers as well as turning to other illegal ways of making money to gamble.

Those who are unable to cope with their debts may choose or be forced into bankruptcy and society then carries the rest of the debt. If court costs are involved this adds to the total financial cost.

Those who are unemployed and unable to work due to their addiction are surviving on state benefits which at the very minimum amount to £57.35 per week (Jobseekers Allowance) and may amount to a great deal more. Assuming six months unemployment and at the basic rate of benefit this is an additional cost of £1,491 per person for 18 - 24s and £1,882 for adults who are 25+.

Criminality

If a problem gambler turns to crime then police time, court costs, probation services and prison services and other support services need to be factored into the cost to society. The average annual overall cost of a prison place in England and Wales for the financial year 2011-12 was £37,649 (NOMS).

Health services

Whilst problem gambling has not until recently been identified officially as a health issue and little or no funding is currently available for treatment from the NHS, health services are often involved as many problem gamblers develop physical and mental health issues as a result of stress and anxiety and the effects of other risk taking behaviours.

The effects on children

Sadly many family relationships breakdown as a result of problem gambling and children are the innocent victims not only because of the emotional distress created within the home but also often the loss of contact with their parent who leaves and the poverty which can result because of the behaviour of the problem gambler.

With this in mind it is clear to see that the issues and costs associated with any problem gambler can extend far beyond the basic financial cost and helping the recovery of one individual will have a much wider positive social impact.

Reverend Gordon Moody

Published: 30 September 2013 by

December 2012 was 100th anniversary of the birth of Gordon Moody, our eponymous founder, who was born on Wednesday 5th December 1912. One of the UK's early social entrepreneurs the Reverend Gordon E. Moody, M.B.E., was a Methodist minister who devoted much of his life to the plight of problem gamblers. His first involvement in the subject was in 1958 when he became Secretary of the British Churches' Council on Gambling where he worked for 20 years and he exerted a strong influence on the shaping of the 1968 Gaming Act. He helped to introduce Gamblers Anonymous to the UK in 1964 (which had first begun in Los Angeles in 1957) and was Honorary Founder-Patron of Gamblers Anonymous until his death in 1994. He was also made an Honorary Life Member of the Society for the Study of Gambling.

The present day Gordon Moody Association was founded as Gordon House in 1971 as a hostel for single, homeless compulsive gamblers. Reverend Moody knew that for many people who had ended up without a roof or a job or a family the first thing necessary to help them on the road to recovery was to offer them somewhere safe and warm to stay. The first Gordon House treatment programme lasted 9 months and some of the residents who have since become volunteers, staff and supporters continue to be thankful that they had the time to turn their lives round. Today our residential treatment is much shorter at 12 weeks, plus a two week residential assessment, making 14 weeks in all and whilst the Gordon Moody Association continues to help people who are homeless as well as those who are unemployed we also support problem gamblers who are still managing to hold down their jobs and some who will have a home to go back to once they have overcome their addiction.

I joined the charity in 2011 and as the relatively new Managing Director I didn't have the opportunity to meet our founder but I have seen an old Panorama programme from the 70's which features him and have spoken to staff and trustees who knew him and I know that his attitude is still the one which informs our activities today. I quote from his obituary in the Independent: - "Moody set himself to learn what gambling was all about - going to the dogs, talking to street bookies, enjoying the Derby. He thus made his first important discovery about gambling: it was not a vice, it was not a crime, it was not a reflection of some psychological disorder. People gambled because they enjoyed it.

It was fun." Of course the downside of gambling as a pastime is that for some it can become an all consuming compulsion which destroys lives and causes family breakdown and can lead to debt, poverty, homelessness and criminality. Like many activists, visionaries and founders he had clear beliefs and determination to succeed in meeting the needs of the people he set out to help. He was passionate and pragmatic in equal measure. The work that we do is needed just as much today as when Reverend Gordon Moody first took action over 40 years ago and there are a great many people who have good reasons for celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth. Long may his memory live on.

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