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Partner News – March 2024

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Foundation CEO to take up exciting new role

Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation CEO Shane Lucas has announced he will be leaving the role as of 28 March.

Shane joined the Foundation in March 2019 and successfully led the organisation through a range of significant opportunities and challenges, including the Crown Royal Commission and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following Shane’s departure and until the end of the financial year, when the transition of the Foundation’s functions to other government agencies is complete, Craig Swift will be acting CEO.

We warmly wish Shane all the very best in his new and exciting role as CEO with the highly regarded for-purpose organisation, Berry Street.

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Foundation CEO Shane Lucas set to commence new role as CEO at Berry Street

In this edition

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Foundation news

New resource – Reducing stigma: A guide for talking about gambling harm

The Foundation has released a new resource to assist people to talk about gambling harm-related issues in a non-stigmatising way.

The stigma associated with gambling harm, which is exacerbated by insensitive, judgemental and blaming language, is a deterrent to help seeking. The evidence-based resource includes a quick reference guide with suggestions for alternative language.

Click for more information

Community engagement news

Love the Game makes a splash at Reclink cricket grand final

Werribee Indoor Sports Stadium played host to the Reclink Grand Final on Wednesday 20 March with teams and participants from all over Victoria. The round-robin style event encourages all Victorians to get involved in cricket and to make friends both on and off the field.

Throughout the matches Love the Game merchandise was handed out with the focus on raising awareness of gambling harm within the community, especially among those who may be more  vulnerable to harm due to co-occurring health and wellbeing issues. The day sparked plenty of conversations about what the Love the Game program is and how it’s helping to combat the normalisation of sports betting advertising at a community level.

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Councillor Peter Maynard (second from the right) from Wyndham City Council supported the Reclink cricket grand final.

Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association debut at parliament

The Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association (AVWA) visited the Victorian Parliament last month to discuss and promote their range of services including gambling counselling for the Vietnamese community. AVWA shared knowledge about the evolution of the Vietnamese community in Victoria and how they are constantly reflecting and adapting their services to meet the changing needs of their community.

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Members from AVWA converged at parliament to discuss their achievements and community needs.

Chinese Peer Connection program and AVWA unite for a common purpose

Recent information about the number of Australians self-excluding from gambling has prompted a call for more action to help protect the community from harm. Gambling harm is felt by many across the state, including our multicultural communities. Counselling team leader for AVWA, Anh Bui noted the impacts she has seen from gambling harm in her community.

‘Usually it's not just financial, it's more about relationships, the mental health and wellbeing, and also the family issues are highlighted from my experience,’ said Anh.

Chinese Peer Connection representative, Kevin Chan has also noticed a similar pattern within the Chinese community, with concerns about the younger generation’s exposure to gambling, saying, ‘They can use gambling, online gambling, as a gateway to meet with friends, to socialise, to bond with their peers.’

Read more.

Connecting with international students through workshops

In January, Gambler’s Help staff at the Salvation Army collaborated with The Couch, a Salvation Army program aimed at fostering social connection and support for international students across Melbourne.

Community engagement staff participated in a ‘Couch Got Talent workshop to promote Gambler’s Help services and to share information about the effects of gambling harm on the health and wellbeing of international students.

A second workshop, facilitated by community engagement staff including an intake worker Evie Sacher who is also a qualified art therapist, involved a one-hour guided art therapy session. Participants creatively expressed themselves through painting, drawing, sketching and music while also learning about Gambler’s Help services.

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Evie Sacher, intake worker and art therapist, leads a guided art therapy class with other Gambler’s Help community engagement staff.

Financial counselling news

Rural Financial Counselling Service Victoria West – All-staff forum

In November 2023, Gambler’s Help staff at Anglicare Victoria, Meli and Child and Family Services (Cafs) collaborated to deliver a joint presentation on gambling harm and Gambler’s Help services at the Rural Financial Counselling Service Victoria West (RFCSVW). Community engagement staff from the three Gambler’s Help services

The forum provided an opportunity for the three Gambler’s Help agencies to work collaboratively to share information, answer questions relevant to their specific LGAs, and distribute their newly co-developed brochure that outlines information about each agency including contact details.

The team also presented a case study to illustrate how the Gambler’s Help program can work alongside rural financial counselling staff.

Following the presentations, staff from all three agencies enjoyed the chance to network, build relationships and discuss future opportunities with the rural financial counsellors from their catchment areas.

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Joanne Parker (Community engagement worker, Anglicare Victoria) and Courtney Guy (Community engagement worker, Meli) at the all-staff forum in Torquay.

Training and development

Using motivational interviewing techniques with gambling harm clients

27 May 2024, 10 am—4 pm

Financial counsellors working in gambling harm programs often work with clients and affected others who disengage in the service during support.

Motivational interviewing is a unique process that explores and resolves resistance and focuses on facilitating change among clients.

Understanding motivational interviewing techniques can help counsellors understand a client’s reasons for wanting to disengage from support, and better support them to continue their journey towards recovery from gambling harm.

Register here.

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