2020 has been a challenging year for many charitable organisations. The restrictions on face to face support, group support and in person training, due to Covid-19 risks – have meant that as an organisation we have had to find different ways of reaching our clients, highlighting personal narratives of those with lived experience of GRH, and marketing our services. This is where digital marketing and working with a creative agency like Purple Banana Creative Design is key to continued success.
Betknowmore UK is a charity established in 2013 in order to minimise Gambling Related Harms in the community. To fulfil this mission statement, we are always keen to increase our presence in the communities we work with be that on a one to one or wider community setting. Our organisation is unique in that we use the lived experience of our experts to provide 1:1 mentoring to those affected by GRH, we provide training to care professionals and even training on Safer Gambling to gambling operators.
The work we do hinges on being able to tell compelling personal narratives of how very different individuals have struggled with and ultimately beat their addictions. Through a mix of learnings from these narratives and training in therapeutic techniques such as Motivational Interviewing, aspects of CBT and Applied Mindfulness techniques, our mentors meet with individuals in informal settings and use these narratives and techniques to help them apply key recovery actions. These include such actions as setting gambling blocks on bank accounts to protect finances, making changes to patterns of behaviour in order to break patterns of destructive gambling and re-establishing often broken relationships with their friends and family.
In the past 10 months we have worked hard in order to translate our very personalised approach into the digital space. This has meant not only doing the basic action of moving our one-to-one client contacts to remote platforms such as Zoom, Teams or Skype, but also taking a close look at our services and our overall mission statement and re-evaluating, from the ground up, how these can be delivered in a time where in person interactions are limited.
First, we want to be able to still tell the stories of those with lived experience. Rather than attending workshops and giving in personal training to frontline workers we are examining the impact of honest, short, thematic video accounts. These will be snapshots of stories, experiences and advice of what to do if you are struggling with gambling. We will be presenting these on our website and through other channels such as LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. We hope and expect that this approach will not only promote our services but will also let us reach out to new potential clients and reach individuals who we may have previously missed due to their mostly online presence.
Second, we hope that this approach will lend itself to a new approach to defining and supporting communities. Traditionally communities were described as groups in a similar geographical location; however, with the rise of online communities we hope that we will be able to reach, connect and support individuals who may be far from each other geographically but share common experiences, interests and who are happy to support each other in their road to recovery.
All of this came together in our thinking and we determined to bring these approaches and ideas together and create one Digital Support Hub which we can make available on a wide basis. We’re working with Purple Banana to do this. They defined a process whereby we would first reinvigorate our website so that it becomes a reflection of the dynamic way in which Betknowmore UK is evolving. The website will then become a hub of activity itself with lived experience narratives, advice, regular blog posts and end up as a first port of call for anyone looking for information or help with Gambling Related Harms. Working with an organisation in real partnership is critical to the success of this plan, and Purple Banana are delivering on that promise.
Anna is Betknowmore UK's Head of Service, with several years’ experience in research co-ordination and impact analysis across the voluntary sector.