Board meets with Broadmeadows community support services

Friday, 10 November 2017

The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation Board was today treated to a special performance by Three Sides of the Coin, a theatre group led by Link Health and Community that uses the lived experience of its members to raise awareness about gambling harm.

At the board’s first ‘offsite’ meeting, held in Broadmeadows, Chair Julie Ligeti endorsed the Foundation’s support for local activities that aim to prevent or reduce gambling harm.

“The period after Spring Racing Carnival can be difficult for those in our community who may be overextended and struggling to work out how to meet credit card payments while preparing for the holiday season,” Ms Ligeti said.

“It can be even more difficult for new and emerging migrant communities who may not know where or how to ask for assistance if they find themselves in this situation, which is why the Foundation has made supporting these groups a priority.”

Ms Ligeti said the Foundation supported Three Sides of the Coin through its Prevention Partnership Program to run storytelling and ‘rehearsal for life’ workshops, and to develop digital stories and community performances, with a focus on supporting culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.

“In workshopping their experiences, participants confront difficult issues in a safe space, which they use to create powerful performance pieces that challenge and inspire audiences.

“Humanising the issue through performance shines a different light on it, helping to raise awareness of gambling harm and reduce the stigma often associated with it,” she said.

The board also heard from Victorian Arabic Social Services CEO Leila Alloush, who spoke about the ‘Win Back Your Life’ Gambler’s Help program, which provides counselling, prevention and other services in Arabic, Assyrian, Caldean, Turkish, Farsi and English.

“There is growing demand for the Foundation-funded ‘Win Back Your Life’ program, which has tripled its number of clients since 2015–16, from 46 to 177,” Ms Ligeti said.

Banyule Community Health CEO Michael Geary told the board that the organisation placed particular emphasis on services for CALD and Aboriginal communities, people experiencing mental health-related issues and socio-economically disadvantaged communities.

In 2017–18, the Foundation continues to support Banyule to deliver Gambler’s Help services, community education and other support, and to pilot the Foundation’s peer-led lived experience group.

In addition, Banyule is working on two Foundation Prevention Partnership Program projects. One to deliver 16 podcasts on gambling-related topics, the other to support the ReSPIN Gambling Awareness Speakers Bureau.

Ms Ligeti reminded all eligible organisations that a special round of Foundation prevention grants specifically for CALD communities is open until 5:00 pm Monday, 13 November 2017. For more information, visit www.responsiblegambling.vic.gov.au/caldgrants.

Media contact: Fiona Skivington 0428 248 931