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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

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Help will be at hand for South Copeland gambling addicts

HELP for gambling addicts is to be set up in South Copeland.

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SUPPORT Pastor Fred Mckeown, who is in the process of setting up a Gamblers Anonymous group for Cumbria in Millom IAN DUNSTAN REF: 50044283B001

In a first for Cumbria, Gambler’s Anonymous meetings will take place in Millom, starting from as early as next month.

One of the pair behind the service provider’s move to the area, Pastor Fred Mckeown, said he had been inspired to set up the group after being contacted by several people following his appeal in the Evening Mail for more support for gamblers.

Along with co-organiser David Ward, Mr Mckeown, a former gambling addict himself, is hoping to fast-track the arrival of the service, which will see Gamblers Anonymous meetings held at Millom Network Centre.

He said: “We have both been gambling addicts in the past.

“And we were inspired to do something after seeing the latest stats on gambling addiction, and the ease that it is now available.

“There is a bigger need now for help to be put in place than ever before.”

Although GamCare operate alongside Cumbria Counselling Group to offer one-to-one support for gambling addicts in Cumbria, the nearest Gamblers Anonymous meeting is more than 70 miles away in Preston.

Mr Mckeown hopes people will come from across the county to seek the support of the Millom GA.

He said: “David Ward has been in touch with GA about getting the sessions up and running by April.

“But we’re trying to fast-track it as there is a real need for a GA to be set up in South Cumbria.

“We hope to have it up and running by March 8, but we are waiting for the official stamp of approval.

“We’ve already been contacted, in light of the Evening Mail article, by a person in particular who has been caught up in online gambling and has lost thousands upon thousands of pounds and finds themselves in difficult circumstances.

“I’m sure there are many more like this and we’ll find that out as we continue this process.

“There is a great need for a GA in South Cumbria, as the more I talk to people, the more I hear how the problem is bigger than I could ever have imagined.

“Gambling seems to be just a bit of fun or some people. But for others it is far from that.

“It can take people in to a life of depression, rejection, isolation and even thoughts of suicide.

“We hope this GA will be there to support people who need it.

“It will not be religious or political, just people coming together with a common denomination.

“Gambling addicts need to know that there are people out there who can help them towards their journey of freedom. We want to let the people of Cumbria know that the GA is on the way.”

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