Digital Switch – raising awareness of more positive way

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Gambling Harm Awareness Week runs from 18 to 25 October and Hobsons Bay City Council is highlighting the damage caused by gambling while offering a positive alternative for those experiencing gambling addiction.

In 2019, Council launched The Digital Switch, an innovative community-led project aimed at minimising the impact of gambling on older people and addressing social isolation and loneliness. The project connected seniors aged 60 years and over with young people to design positive socialising and outlets.

While COVID has put pause on many of the planned activities, participants have some great projects to look forward to in the New Year, including a ‘Cook, Share, Learn’ program. Council is also seeking expressions of interest from local community groups to partner with to deliver additional pre-designed activities. A ‘toolbox’ with helpful localised resources is also being developed.

One project that has been able to come to fruition is a series of videos, released to coincide with Gambling Harm Awareness Week.

To raise awareness of gambling addiction, while offering messages of hope for a better way, Hobsons Bay enthusiast Anna Beardsley paired with Mya Raven-Luck, Screen Media Student from VU, to bravely tell her story of gambling addiction and how finding her true passion and hobbies saved her. The videos will be published on Council’s website at www.hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au/digitalswitch and social media platforms from 18 October.

If you’re concerned that someone close to you has a gambling problem, visit gamblershelp.com.au for information on what do and where to seek help.

Quotes attributable to Mayor Cr Jonathon Marsden:

“We know the damage that electronic gaming machines can wreak on people’s lives. In 2019-20, gambling stats show $34.46 million was lost on electronic gaming machines (EGMs) in Hobsons Bay, a sobering figure when it is averaged out to $129,632 per day.

“What starts as a social outing seeking companionship for some, can quickly turn into a way of life with devastating consequences. Promoting Gambling Harm Awareness Week and providing a program like the Digital Switch will shine a spotlight on alternatives – alternatives that can be uplifting and long lasting.”

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