The Consumer Voices program continues to roll out across the Illawarra, Shoalhaven, Southern Tablelands and Far South Coast. We have already delivered 39 sessions to a variety of community/welfare services and groups and have several bookings in place already for early next year. We will exceed our target of 40 sessions for the 12-month funded period (April 2016 –March 2017) and over 850 people have attended so far.

There have been some particular highlights for this quarter which include:

Consumer Voices training took place in August with five new recruits and a refresher for four speakers. The training program was revamped by Kate and Barbara to incorporate some of the concepts and skills exercises from the book “Living Proof-Telling Your Story to Make a Difference. Each participant received a copy of the book for later reference and review ( ). It’s a great resource to accompany our training and the feedback from all was very positive.

The ABC “You Can’t Ask That” program ( ) – contacted us to take part in a special focus on gambling, which will go to air on ABC TV early next year. Congratulations to our CV speakers Nick, Marcus, Sylvanus and Kate for sharing their personal experiences for this important thought provoking, stereotype challenging, myth busting show. It takes courage to be so open with such a public medium.

We have held several CV sessions with Youth projects and a local High School these past few months. Young men aged 18-24 are particularly at risk of developing problems with gambling so it has been great to work with these services in raising awareness of gambling harms and help them develop some knowledge about the issues as well as support services.  The new Youth Focused website launched by the ACT Youth Coalition ( is also a fantastic new resource for young people and one we are keen to support. So please let people know about it.

TAFE students have always been part of our focus, particularly those in Welfare subjects who are/or will be working in frontline community services.  We have held several sessions as Shellharbour, Wollongong, Nowra and Meadowbank TAFE’s over the life of the CV program. So we were particularly pleases to be asked to partner with Illwarra Institute of TAFE with a new initiative in delivering the Gambling Skillset Unit – Statement of Attainment in Working with Problem Gambling Issues. This 6 –hour workshop was made available fee free to community/welfare staff and volunteers across the Illwarra, Shoalhaven, Southern Tablelands and Far South Coast. The Consumer Voices program was integrated into the workshops each time it was delivered.

October saw our Executive Officer Kate Roberts and CV speaker Alfred attend the Granville Multi-Cultural Problem Gambling Forum to raise awareness of the lived experience of gambling harms as part of this professional development opportunity for service providers. Both spoke about the impacts of gambling harms their lives (personal/family) and what had supported them and their perceptions of some of the barriers to support.

So overall it’s been another busy period for the program although as the holiday season approaches things are quietening down and as a result Barbara and Kate will be taking some leave. If you are interested in booking a CV session next year for your group/service. /staff meeting/forum please contact us at as possible. Whilst we hope to attract further funding we can only guarantee service until the end of March 2017 when our current round of NSW Responsible Gambling Fund support concludes.