Lee Willows is the proud founder and chief executive of the Young Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM). He has spent over 25 years in the education and third sectors; progressing from a front line post-16 teacher and youth worker, to holding senior leadership / Chief Executive positions with organisations such as the Kingswood Learning & Leisure Group, Princess Trust, Newcastle College Group and Trailblazers.
In his late thirties, Lee developed a devastating addiction to gambling, in which he lost almost everything and came within a whisker of taking his own life. Having gone through three months of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) at the UK’s National Problem Gambling Clinic he learned quickly that there was very limited preventative education for young people as to the potential harms that may arise from gambling when compared to other risky activities for young people such as alcohol, sex and e-safety. Lee wanted to use his knowledge of education and lived-experience of gambling-related harm to fill this gap in preventative education for young people and so, with colleagues, established YGAM.
At the Malta Responsible Gambling Conference, Lee will be sharing his personal journey and motivations to establish YGAM, his thoughts on working collaboratively with the gambling industry to drive social impact and how YGAM proposes to further strengthen its educational workshops for teachers and practitioners following Dr. Carran’s evaluation of their impact.