Racing Post Article July 18th - Jim Cremin

Published: Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Racing Post Article July 18th - Jim Cremin

Gordon Moody is one of the most focused and effective of organisations in dealing with seriously afflicted problem gamblers and a function last week to mark the retirement of MD Elaine Smethurst and the arrival of new CEO Adele Duncan reflected pride in all that had been achieved, but also welcome confidence in the future. 

Smethurst explained she was taking time out from a full time ‘day job’, but in due course would seek consultancy work in the voluntary and responsible gambling sectors. 

She described her best three achievements in her six-year spell as “1. Helping turn Gordon Moody around - it was in a precarious state in terms of governance, while funding was not secure, 2. Seeing good Trustees in place and a strong staff team [of 21/22 people], and 3. Making the service more accessible to those who need it, including an effective web site.” 

However, her greatest disappointment is that “problem gambling is still not fully recognised as a health issue. Doctors seem able to deal with depression or alcoholism, but not necessarily this. I do feel part of a family here, enjoyed the challenge and am grateful to Marc Etches of Gamble Aware for now securing our funding.” 

Smethurst cited lyrics from Bob Dylan’s What Good Am I to the audience as being inspirational, including “What good am I if I know and don't do . . . if I turn a deaf ear.”

She was told by Rekha Wadhwani, chairman of the Trustees, that she had made a real difference “given she took over when things were in a dire position, but managed to rebuild lost trust and funding.” 

Mark Etches, chief executive of Gamble Aware (formerly The Responsible Gambling Trust, which collects contributions from the gambling industry), said “Elaine’s skills in the area of governance particularly made a huge difference which, for instance, led us to offer funding for the three years ahead for the first time - that reflects our confidence in the organisation. We’re also pleased to see plans to measure that investment’s effectiveness.” 

Pedro Romero, head of Gambling Therapy, part of Gordon Moody, added: “Elaine has worked hard, and the comfort we take is the increased funding she leaves and a climate where betting companies are more understanding and supportive. Change can always be positive too.” 

Kelly King, Business and Operations Manager at Gordon Moody, made a presentation on behalf of all the staff and told of the early turbulent times “but with Elaine’s tenacity, persistence and vision, we have a strong and positive future ahead.”

Mark Otway, a trustee and the treasurer, predicted similar with incoming Adele Duncan. “She too will punch above her weight,” he said. 

Introduced to the gathering and given a warm welcome, Duncan is being shown the ropes by Smethurst.  Duncan hails from Phoenix Futures Group, a charity and housing association which helps people overcome drug and alcohol problems. It provides residential, prison, community and specialist services.  

“I’ve seen the massive change that people can make in their lives,” she said, “and I’m looking forward to taking things on further here and hopefully expand our service, shaping people who wish to embrace real change around their gambling.” 


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