Open Network Meeting – Report

GLEN held an Open Network Meeting on Wednesday 27th March at which we discussed the network, our origins and purpose, our plans for 2024, and talked about our intention of recruiting LE individuals to join our reformed Development Panel to help deliver on some of our upcoming work as part of project teams, and also to help set the future direction and plans for the wider network.

We were delighted by the response and would like to thank all those who attended on the day for their interest, insights, enthusiasm and questions. Some of the points/questions raised are noted at the bottom of this report.

For those who were unable to attend on the day we have created a PDF deck of the slides which were used during the meeting and this is available to view here: Glen Open Meeting Deck 270324

We will be publishing more details about our Development Panel opportunities in the coming days and will be arranging a further meeting early in April for anyone interested in participating to learn more.

If you would like to be kept informed of this meeting then please drop us a line at: or consider joining our mailing list.

Q&As from today’s meeting

Q)  What is the geographical Scope of GLEN?

A)  We recognise that gambling harms do not have geographical boundaries and as such nor should we. The only thing which currently limits our ability to be accessible to anyone no matter where they live is the limitation of resources (people rather than money) and lack of detailed in-house knowledge of the gambling harms environments outside of the UK. For now this does mean that we will be focusing on the UK, and we do mean all of the UK rather than just GB. We welcome interest and participation by those living further afield but in the short term our ability to engage in other countries will be limited.

Currently we are a charity registered in England and Wales but this does not limit our ability to be active in Scotland or NI and in time we will be looking to register as locally registered charities in those nations too.

Q)  What are the eligibility criteria for joining the Development Panel?

A)  The main eligibility criteria is understanding of Lived Experience around harmful gambling, and a passion to further the aims of GLEN as both a Network and a Charity. We do recognise that we operate in an area of extreme adversity which can be triggering for those involved and which has strong association with harm, and thus must place safeguarding and wellbeing of individuals at the top of our priorities.

However, as we do not provide direct 1:1 treatment or support to individuals and will not expect Development Panel members to be working in isolation with individuals at risk we would like to believe that the levels of risk to those wishing to be involved can be safely mitigated, including through peer support from other panel members, many of whom we expect to have knowledge and trained expertise in supporting individuals facing crisis. Therefore we believe that setting arbitrary times on stable recovery as part of an eligibility pre-requisite are unhelpful and that allowing individuals to self-assess their readiness and ability to participate is a more equitable and respectful way of approaching this. Therefore we are happy to hear from individuals who are in early stages of recovery, and to discuss ways of ensuring extra and appropriate support can be in place should they feel that they need it.

Q)  Engagement with Westminster and devolved governments?

A)  We do see value and need in engaging with policy makers at all levels, and in supporting the value of including Lived Experience in any strategic planning or actual implementation of regulations or policies. We have been active in responding to any calls where input is sought or where pathways to engagement exist – including around current and recent White Paper consultations. We are also conscious that other bodies in the sector have invested considerable resources into creating a lobbying capability. As a network we do not see ourselves as being overtly political and would not intend to emulate such an approach but we will be very vocal and forward in demanding that a balanced Lived Experience informed approach is taken at all times and that the value of Lived Experience and the 3rd sector, much of which has formed around Lived Experience, is fully recognised as being central stakeholders in such matters.

A central feature of our upcoming work is however founded on the realisation that less than 1% of those impacted by gambling harms are currently engaged or active in discussing and combating such harms. As such we see approaching the issue from a grass roots and community led approach is just as important as having a voice at policy levels. Indeed, if we genuinely expect politicians and Public Health experts to take the issue around harmful gambling seriously then we need to raise the visibility and importance of it amongst the wider population – in effect make it a “subject of interest” to politicians. Our Community Outreach programme is being developed for this very reason – to take the discussion and awareness of gambling harms to the communities who are being directly impacted by it, and to help enable those communities to be able to better support their own members.