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Minister and Gambling Commission and Minister for Sports, Tourism and Heritage voice support for 'Safer Gambling Week 2020'

BOTH Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, and Gambling Commission Chief Executive, Neil McArthur, have today confirmed the Department's and Commission's support of Safer Gambling Week 2020, the national campaign to raise awareness of safer gambling. Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, Nigel Huddleston said:- "Gambling operators have a responsibility to keep customers safe from harm. I'm pleased that the industry is coming together to recognise the importance of clear and consistent safer gambling messaging and to help those who need it find support."

Neil McArthur, Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, said:- "We welcome the emphasis on safer gambling and it is encouraging to see operators from all sectors collaborating to raise awareness of the need to put consumer safety at the heart of everything they do."

Taking place from 19 November to 25 November, Safer Gambling Week 2020 sees all partners and supporters working together to raise awareness of safer gambling, the tools that are available and where and how to access free support. The annual campaign, which began in 2017, provides a consistent and united voice to highlight safer gambling awareness, providing a focus for support and tools that are available throughout the year.

Led by trade associations the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), The Bingo Association (BA) and the British Amusement Catering Trade Association (bacta), who are joined again this year by the Association of Irish Bookmakers, campaign partners and 210 Official Supporting organisations: all committed to raising awareness of safer gambling behaviours and encouraging staff, customers and the wider public to discuss what it means to gamble more safely.

Michael Dugher, Chief Executive, Betting and Gaming Council, said:- "We are delighted to be supporting this year's Safer Gambling Week. We have made huge strides at the BGC in our first year in raising standards, including a requirement that at least 20 per cent of all TV and radio betting ads are safer gambling messaging, cooling off periods on gaming machines, encouraging deposit limits, new ID and age verification checks and massively increasing funding for research, education and treatment. But we are eager to go further; and look forward to working with the Government on the Gambling Review to introduce further changes that ensure that the millions of people who enjoy an occasional flutter, do so enjoyably and safely."

Miles Baron, Chief Executive, The Bingo Association, said:- "Safer Gambling Week is an important part of the bingo industry's commitment to social responsibility and provides a useful focal point for highlighting activity and support that is available throughout the year. Despite the challenges faced by operators in the sector with physical premises, we remain committed to raising awareness of safer gambling and Safer Gambling Week. The support from the Minister and Commission is welcomed and I am sure will encourage yet wider participation in this important campaign."

John White, Chief Executive of bacta, said:- "Safer Gambling Week gives the industry a great opportunity not only to highlight to customers the information and support that is available throughout the year and how we help ensure they gamble more safely but also for operators and staff to reassess what they do and how they do it in delivering safer ambling messages to customers and helping them find support should they need it."

More than 100,000 staff at more than 9,000 gambling venues and online sites in the UK and Ireland will take part in Safer Gambling Week, helping to drive a national conversation. Operators promote safer gambling 365 days of the year, but Safer Gambling Week creates the opportunity for all businesses and organisations to have a conversation about safer gambling not only with their customers, but also with their staff and in turn their friends and family.

All gambling operators are committed to the campaign, taking place over the week and will promote consistent messages and branding in venues, online and on social media.

Several operators, suppliers and publishers have announced significant initiatives to ensure the campaign reaches the widest possible audience with a range of virtual events and training also taking place.

"Let's Talk About Safer Gambling"
remains the strap line of Safer Gambling Week 2020; in coming together with 1 voice, the campaign, through an ever increasing number and range of supporters, is able extend its reach, year on year, and build on and add to the work that operators and other organisations undertake throughout the year.

The key messages:-

 Ask yourself… have you carried on past your spending limit?

 Just a heads up… it's good to set yourself limits.

 Just a heads up… it's easy to lose track of time when gambling.

 Play smart… know when to stop.

 Remember… friends and family are more important than gambling.

 Remember… gambling is not a way to make money.

Organisations seeking information on Safer Gambling Week 2020 (SGWeek20), or how to become a registered supporter, should visit the Safer Gambling Week website or the Safer Gambling website. The websites are key information points for Safer Gambling resources and information and for Safer Gambling Week 2020.

Ambitious ₤50million proposals to regenerate Southport have been welcomed by Town MP Damien Moore

THE Southport Conservative MP says he is excited by the Southport Town Deal submission which will kickstart a wider ₤400m investment in the Town and bring 1,250 additional jobs to the area as a result of the initial projects.  It includes a new convention and Events Centre on the site of the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre, which closed earlier this year as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic.  The waterside Events Centre would house a 1,200 seat Auditorium, Exhibition Halls as well as a cafe and co-working space. The plan also aims to regenerate the Town Centre and drive business growth. Lord Street, the Town's Grand Boulevard that inspired the Champs Elysees, would be restored to its former glory and a new events space created.  A business incubator is proposed in one of Southport's vacant Town Centre buildings providing much needed space for the Town's digital and creative businesses. A larger Enterprise Store would also be developed in a former department store building to provide scale up accommodation for growing businesses. An immersive water, light and sound show experience is proposed on the Marine Lake. The existing Southport Pleasureland would be transformed, partnering with a globally recognised brand to create a themed indoor attraction open to visitors all year round. 

Damien Moore said:- "The projects put forward as part of the Southport Town Deal submission are really exciting news for Southport. The scope of these projects is huge, and they will unlock millions of pounds in further regeneration funding and create hundreds of new jobs. I am working hard to reverse 20 years of neglect in Southport and while not everything will happen overnight, these proposals will go a significant way towards doing that. As MP for Southport, I was delighted to be able to secure the opportunity for Southport to bid for this ₤50million in vital regeneration funding through the Town Deal process.  The initial aim was to bid for ₤25million in support, but we have now submitted proposals for projects totalling ₤50million. Southport needs to build back stronger after this Coronavirus Pandemic, as well as recovering from the 20 years of neglect we have seen here in our Town. The 1st ₤1million of Southport Town Deal funding has already been released by the Government. ₤900,000 of that has been agreed so that work has now begun to transform Southport Market into an exciting new food, drink and events hub.  A further ₤100,000 is going to Southport Business Improvement District (Southport BID) in match funding so they can provide decorative lighting along Lord Street. Local residents and local businesses in Southport want to see positive change happening and this is the start of many good things to come."

The Southport Town Deal projects aim to attract further investment into Southport, as private firms realise the possibilities happening in the Town. That has already been seen in the news last week that Go Surf is eager to invest ₤40million in creating 120 new jobs at the brand new Southport Cove resort on the seafront.  Damien Moore said he has recently been speaking to other business leaders who are also keen to develop new projects in Southport.  He said:- "Although it is early days, the Southport Town Deal is already proving to be a catalyst for growth and attracting major investors to Southport. We are already seeing very exciting plans develop with Norman Wallis and his Pleasureland site. We are also seeing other plans with schemes such as Techedia creating 70 new jobs at their new premises on Corporation Street and JSM Company group's transformation of the former BHS building into 30 new apart hotels alongside five shops and a pub on the ground floor. There is massive optimism in Southport at the moment. There are other things I am engaging with, so hopefully there will be even more good news to come very soon. Over the next 10 weeks I will be working night and day to ensure that the Southport Town Deal, and the projects which will be submitted as part of that, will have a substantial impact on the future of Southport."

Southport Town Deal Board, which Damien Moore is a member of, has submitted its ambitious ₤50 million plan for regeneration as part of the Government's Town Deals Fund, developed to 'level up' and drive the economic regeneration of Towns across England.

Rob Fletcher, Chair of the Town Board said:- "Our plan has been informed by the biggest conversation that the Town has ever had about its future. We've had 7,000 pieces of individual feedback from residents, business and visitors. 700 School children from the Town have also put their ideas forward. Our plan is designed to provide opportunities for our current residents and future generations."

Dwayne Johnson Chief Executive at Sefton Council, said:- "The Town Deal process has raised the profile of Southport with investors and we can already see the positive effect it is having. For example, Sefton Council has just announced an exclusivity agreement with GoSurf to create The Southport Cove Resort. This ₤40m privately financed investment will bring a unique surf wave pool and wellness and spa facilities to the heart of the Town. The resort will add value to our Town Deal plan and complement our proposed projects, such as the convention and Events Centre and Marine Lake experience."

Planning and development consultancy, Turley has supported the Town Deal Board through the process. Richard Laming, Senior Director at Turley, said:- "This plan signals a clear intent to the Government and other investors that Southport has a clear vision for the future. The projects are unique and investable, and have the ability to leverage significant regeneration benefits to accelerate the Region's recovery from Covid19."

A decision on the funding is expected early 2021 and further details of projects will be released in the next few weeks.

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