DO YOU know any young people who have been gaming or gambling more since the pandemic began?

During successive lockdowns, young people have been gaming more, and screen time has increased — but help is at hand.

James Attrill, the High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight, has welcomed the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) to the Island.

He said there is a real need for their services to support young people, and is encouraging teachers and youth organisations to take advantage of the free training available.

YGAM is an award-winning national charity with a social purpose to inform, educate, and safeguard young and vulnerable people against gambling and gaming harms.

The charity delivers free training on the topic to teachers, youth workers, universities, parents and practitioners.

After successfully rolling out the programme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the charity is now expanding to the Isle of Wight.

For many, during the pandemic, gaming became a way of keeping in touch with friends and staying entertained.

But the charity said more parents than before are becoming concerned about the amount of time their children are now spending gaming.

YGAM has seen a significant increase in demand for its educational resources and it is keen to promote its free resources across the Island.

Mr Attrill said: “I have personally been briefed on the plans YGAM has for the Isle of Wight and I believe there is a real need for their services to support our young people — especially if it impacts on their mental health.

"While schools have been closed during the lockdown, the amount of time young people have been spending online has increased significantly meaning this work has never been more important.

"It is important to make sure that collectively we are doing everything we can to ensure future generations of the Isle of Wight are safeguarded, where necessary, from the potential negative aspects of gaming and gambling.

"I encourage anyone who works with young people on the Island to liaise with the YGAM team to help get the message to as many young people as possible."

Carol Yearby is a lead youth worker for Breakout Youth and Space4U on the Isle of Wight.

After attending a recent training session with YGAM, Carol said: “Coming from a youth work basis, I found this training around young people and the gambling/gaming arena to be not only insightful but really relevant to our young people today.

“I feel more prepared to deliver sessions on awareness of gambling and gaming in the youth sector and how to identify trouble before it gets out of control.

"The resources shared are absolutely brilliant. If you're wavering about doing the training, don't, you will not regret it.”

The charity is particularly eager to work on the Isle of Wight after research from the Island Youth Mental Health Census 2019 suggested its young people may be particularly vulnerable to anxiety and depression, which is often associated with harmful gambling or gaming behaviours.

It’s believed the stress from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has likely heightened this vulnerability, making it even more important for positive interventions to take place.

Katherine Sawyer, YGAM’s education manager for the South West, said: “It is fantastic to have the support of James, who is so keen to tackle the mental health issues of young people on the Island.

"I recognise that the Island faces many unique challenges around this topic both geographically in terms of rural isolation and socio-economically.

“Therefore, my aim is to work with as many education and youth practitioners as possible, to make sure that, collectively, we are doing everything we can to educate and safeguard young people from the potential consequences of gaming and gambling.”

YGAM’s free training can be booked by emailing or visiting to learn more.

YGAM also offers resources specifically for parents at and students at

We would be interested to hear if your child has struggled with increased gaming or gambling since the pandemic began. You can remain anonymous if you prefer. Send your story to the County Press, by emailing it to Lori Little at