Storytelling, art workshops, food, fun and friendships: looking back on Gambling Harm Awareness Week 2022 community events
Each year the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation encourages partners to host local events during Gambling Harm Awareness Week to start community conversations about gambling harm. Talking about this harm, which affects individuals who gamble, family members, friends, workplaces and communities, can help to reduce the associated stigma and promote help seeking.
Post-COVID restrictions, the Foundation’s partners rose to the occasion by hosting a range of in-person and online events across metropolitan and regional Victoria throughout the week of 17–23 October.
This page features some of the many innovative ways our partners brought people together during the week.
Connect Health and Community’s 'Healthy, Mindful & Wise' event
18 October, Chelsea Library
Gambler's Help Southern and City of Kingston marked Gambling Harm Awareness Week at a twilight 'Healthy, Mindful & Wise' event at Chelsea Library. The Libraries After Dark program provides safe and sociable evening alternatives to gambling, like showing films, holding book chats or doing crafts. A presentation on mental and social wellbeing urged attendees to 'mind' their habits, body and community.
EACH Gambler’s Help team awareness raising activities
17–23 October, Inner/Outer Eastern Melbourne
The EACH Gambler’s Help Eastern team in Melbourne’s east delivered a range of gambling harm awareness events during October.
They joined local health and wellbeing service providers at the Manningham Mental Wellbeing and Multicultural Communities Forum to raise awareness of gambling harm and local gambling support services. The EACH services represented at the forum included Chinese Peer Connection, Manningham Youth Service, and Alcohol and Other Drugs and Mental Health Hub staff.
‘It was an opportunity to provide Gambler’s Help service updates with other professionals and to promote Gambling Harm Awareness Week,’ EACH Gambler’s Help Community Engagement Officer Sean Kearney said.
The Gambler’s Help team also held a stall at the Maroondah City Council Seniors Expo, where they spoke at length to nearly 100 attendees about gambling harm, gambling statistics in the local government area (LGA), and how those who are concerned about their own or another’s gambling can seek support.
Community Engagement Officer Penny Christie and Financial Counsellor Noni Zaman reflected that many people were surprised at the gambling statistics for the Maroondah LGA, adding that it was a great networking opportunity.
EACH also partnered with City of Monash to host the 'Gambling Harm and Young People' online event on 20 October to share advice with parents, carers and young people themselves on the risks of gambling for young people. Panellists included Professor of Public Health at Deakin University, Samantha Thomas, Gambler’s Help Financial Counsellor Melanie Marsh, and a gambling harm lived-experience speaker from ReSPIN, Dean.
Gambler's Help Gippsland Latrobe Community Health Service trivia events
18 October, Korumburra and Foster, South Gippsland
Gambler's Help Gippsland Latrobe Community Health Service and South Gippsland Shire Council hosted trivia sessions, where they served some delicious food, to mark Gambling Harm Awareness Week. Held at Milpara Community House in Korumburra and Manna Gum Community House in Foster, the community events encouraged participants to talk openly about topics raised by trivia questions relating to gambling harm and its effects on their communities.
IPC Health’s Young Leaders of the West podcast challenge launch
19 October, Victoria University Footscray Nicholson Campus
Young Leaders of the West launched the Schools Podcast Challenge at a celebration hosted by IPC Health during Gambling Harm Awareness Week. Students from five schools in Melbourne's west were challenged to produce podcast episodes about gambling harm through interviews with Gambler's Help counsellors, young leaders and people with lived experience of gambling harm and recovery.
Students, parents and teachers from the participating schools came together to enjoy the event and share what they’d learnt from the podcast challenge experience.
‘It was an excellent initiative to engage the students and I am sure they learned many different lessons from producing their own podcasts,’ one of the parents explained. ‘I really appreciate that my daughter had this opportunity.’
Congratulations to the P-12 students of Bayside College who produced the podcast with the highest number of listens. They won a package of professional podcasting equipment for the college.
Listen to episodes from the podcast challenge here.
Child and Family Services’ 'Pictures of Hope' watercolour workshop
19 October, Ballarat East Neighbourhood House
Child and Family Services Ballarat (Cafs) hosted a unique creative workshop, 'Pictures of Hope', at the Ballarat East Neighbourhood House during Gambling Harm Awareness Week. Bringing together their Gambler’s Help support services and the disability support services provided by local social enterprise, The Glow Project, the workshop involved therapeutic tools such as ambient music, gentle movement, mindfulness, and visually enticing craft materials.
‘The participants openly explored difficult emotions, whilst focused on creating visual expressions that were beautiful, satisfying and wonderfully different from one another,’ said artist and tutor Linda Franklin.
‘Sincere thanks to Cafs, specifically John Bradshaw, for having the vision and know-how to bring together several services to support the young women cared for by The Glow Project Disability Support.’
Banyule Community Health’s 'How technology is changing gambling' event
19 October, online
Banyule Community Health, in partnership with Hume City Council, hosted a free online event exploring how technology, such as online gambling and mobile apps, are changing gambling and contributing to gambling harm.
Attendees heard from a range of keynote speakers from Banyule Community Health about the way technology is changing the way people access and experience gambling. ReSPIN speaker Fred Rubinstein spoke about his personal experience with online gambling and his journey of recovery, and Latrobe University’s Associate Professor Sarah MacLean discussed her research on the emergence of technology in bingo and the harms this can cause.
Watch 'How technology is changing gambling' online event.
Child and Family Services’ 'Gambling with your health?' event
20 October, Ballarat East Neighbourhood House
Cafs hosted the 'Gambling with your health?’ event in Ballarat during Gambling Harm Awareness Week.
Presented by Gambling Harm Awareness Ballarat with support from Ballarat East Neighbourhood House and Cafs, the event was hosted by Foundation Lived Experience Committee member Lynda Genser.
Community members enjoyed a free lunch and listened to a panel of local community leaders and professionals discuss gambling harm, harm prevention, reducing stigma, and the value of alternative activities to gambling. Guest speaker from ReSPIN and former members of the Foundation’s Lived Experience Advisory Committee Paul Fung then shared his personal story of gambling harm and recovery.
Feedback from attendees:
‘Thanks, wonderful speakers.’
‘Great event, thank you.’
‘Fantastic to learn that similar events in sporting and community groups are happening to minimise gambling harm.’
Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association community information session
21 October, Sunshine West Community Centre
The Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association’s (AVWA) Gambling Counselling and Gambling Prevention team hosted an information session for Gambling Harm Awareness Week 2022 with the support of Sunshine West Community Centre.
Attended by members of the local Vietnamese community and special guests, the event aimed to destigmatise gambling harm in the Vietnamese community, as well as encourage help-seeking behaviour with wrap-around support from AVWA, Brimbank Council and Western Bulldogs football club.
Arabic Welfare’s gambling harm video launch
21 October, online
Arabic Welfare launched a series of animated videos during an online event to help stimulate conversations about gambling harm and how gambling can affect anyone in the community. Spoken in Arabic with English subtitles, the three videos explore the signs of gambling harm while offering hope for recovery and ways to get support.