GIS Consumer Voices & Lived Experience Summary  2019-20

One of our important services is developing community education programs, to raise awareness about gambling harms in the community and provide information on where to get further information, self-help and profession support. From April 2019 to October 2020, the Gambling Impact Society was funded by the Office of Responsible Gambling (ORG) to deliver our Consumer Voices program to South West Sydney and the  Hunter Newcastle region, as well as developing a similar Lived Experience program to reach out to other areas in NSW.

The programs’ 1-hour community education session are offered to community welfare agencies, services agencies, community groups and corporate organisations and is delivered in partnership with local Gambling Help Counselling services in area. The sessions are facilitated by a Gambling Help counsellor in conjunction with members of the GIS trained Consumer Voices (lived experience) volunteer spokespeople team.

Participants who attended were drawn from a range of background including: community welfare students, financial counselling students, youth workers, University Social Work and Public Health degree students, Interagency staff, mental health professionals, hospital patient groups and staff, TAFE community service teachers, lawyers a variety of community groups.

The summary below provides an overview of how we got on :

Consumer Voices Program (SW Sydney & Hunter- Newcastle)

Thirty-two (32) CV sessions were completed in the South West Sydney area. These were hosted by Twenty-Three (23) different agencies and attended by 752 participants. In the Hunter/Newcastle region, thirty-five (35) CV sessions were, hosted by thirty-one (31) different agencies attended by 575 participants.

Lived Experience Program (Areas in NSW other than CV regions)

In total thirty-seven (37) Lived Experience sessions were delivered to the community. This included: twelve face-to face-sessions, four filmed narratives and twenty-one sessions delivered online. These sessions were delivered by eight of the peer educator team (consumer speakers) and hosted by twenty- one (21) agencies across NSW. Eight of these agencies hosted multiple sessions.

There were six hundred and twenty (620) individual participant attendees and unlimited viewers of the Lived Experience films made by ORG and supported by the GIS, to be made public through the online Gambling Help website and other ORG communications.

In total:  between the two programs 104 community education session were delivered to seventy-five different (75) community agencies with several receiving multiple sessions  e.g., TAFE colleges and 1,947 people attended a session.

This was no mean feat ,particularly in light of the impacts of Covid19 when many community groups closed down, agencies went into lock down and we had to quickly, like many other services, transition to the provision of online education sessions. It was a busy but rewarding time as we developed new skills in online service provision.

I would like to thank everyone who took part in the programs particularly  the counsellors and members of our speakers team. Our project staff, Barbara Joan, Alisha and Morgan all took up the challenges and the feedback from host agencies and audience was overwhelmingly positive.

We hope to be able to bring our Consumer Voice program back to the community in mid 2021, subject to funding. We look forward to generating new partnership and recruiting new members to out speakers team. We’ll keep you posted as plans progress.

Kate Roberts – GIS Executive Officer