A Royal appointment for EPIC in Antwerp

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The powerful and inspiring EPIC message hit new territory with programme facilitator Marc Williams delivering back-to-back sessions at Belgian Jupiler Pro League football club Royal Antwerp FC.

Both Royal Antwerp FC’s first team and U23 squads - as well as the club’s wider staff - sat through EPIC’s gambling awareness and protection seminar, which included programme facilitator Marc’s lived experience journey.

Marc, whose last bet anniversary has just hit the four-year mark, was delighted with the feedback of all the sessions he delivered whilst out in Belgium, as he explained:

“All of the sessions went really well. The feedback has been amazing, which is pleasing to hear. Some of the comments I’ve heard have been really touching; a lot of people here have been asking why they haven’t had a session like this sooner. It reinforces just how important these sessions are when you hear things like this.

“It really shows that gambling is a worldwide thing, whether back home in the UK or out here in Europe. This is why it’s so great to be out at clubs like Royal Antwerp because gambling is everywhere.”

Royal Antwerp FC defender Ritchie De Laet – who has previous experience of playing in the UK for Stoke City, Manchester United and Leicester City amongst others – was part of the audience for the aforementioned sessions and spoke about how important Marc’s message was, adding:

“It’s really important what Marc and EPIC are doing, coming to places like these and delivering a powerful message. There is a problem with betting culture as it’s so easy to open your phone or your laptop and start betting.

“You don’t realise sometimes until it’s too late, which is why Marc’s story is so powerful. He’s been there as a footballer, we’ve been teammates in the past. So his story resonates with us with it being so close to home.”

As well as educating both playing squads, Marc was also tasked to deliver to departments of club staff as well as be a keynote speaker at a Royal Antwerp FC club event with its corporate partners. One of the delegates at that event was David Ketteridge, who is the founder of addiction treatment centre Reset. David, who is a programme facilitator himself spoke highly of Marc and EPIC’s work, as he said:

“What I felt in the room was that from Marc’s session, everyone could identify where they are on the gambling scale. What Marc is trying to do as a programme facilitator is to reduce the stigma from making that step in asking for help if they are struggling.

“If they watched Marc’s session today there could be people in that room who say I’m a problem gambler and they can admit and make that authentic step in coming forward for the help that is there.”