Two Years at EPIC: Patrick Foster Q&A

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EPIC Risk Management’s Director of Educational Programmes Patrick Foster is celebrating two-years with the organisation today.

Patrick is a former professional cricketer, insurance broker, and independent schoolteacher whose life was torn to shreds by his pathological gambling addiction.

Having been driven to the brink by problem gambling, Patrick now shares his journey with young people and their parents who may be experiencing similar difficulties, inspiring them to have the courage and confidence to reach out for help and has been promoted to EPIC’s senior management team in recent months.

EPIC caught up with ‘Patch’ on his work anniversary.

EPIC: Congratulations on two-years at EPIC Risk Management, Patch. How are you feeling celebrating this milestone today?

PF: The overriding emotion is one of pride. Pride from a personal point of view, in the sense of what I’ve achieved and how far I’ve come from where I was in terms of my own personal recovery (from a gambling addiction). Also, pride in what we have achieved as a company, in what is a pretty short space of time.

The other feeling is of gratitude really. I was given an opportunity two years ago that you never think is going to come your way. So, I am just grateful for the opportunity to do what I do.

It’s all gone ridiculously quickly and in a short space of time I've gone from being an associate to being on the Senior Leadership Team - which I guess adds to that of sense of pride, but it's also a reflection of the business and how fast it's moved.

EPIC: What have you observed in these two-years in the sphere of problem gambling? Has anything changed in your opinion?

PF: There has definitely been a change in gambling and in lots of different ways the awareness of it has increased hugely. When I first came out of rehab and started to share my story working for EPIC, there weren't a huge amount of people that were talking about their gambling addiction, in terms of experts by experience, but looking at it now there's a lot more. So, certainly, there’s been a lot of progress on that front.

There’s also been a change in the gambling industry and their commitment to social responsibility, and taking safer gambling more seriously. It’s now put at the forefront of what they do and this is partially down to the work that EPIC has done with them in terms of customer interactions, culture change, and sector-leading accredited training.

Externally I think there's been a significant shift. I don't think fewer people are gambling but I think people are much more aware of gambling addiction and problem gambling and what comes with it. They are strides in the right direction but there's still a hell of a long way to go for operators, regulators, politicians, and media, it is a joint responsibility.

EPIC: How about EPIC as an organisation? What progress have you witnessed working for the company at this time?

PF: Internally the growth has been massive. When I first joined there were five of us in the business there are now 22. It was just Lived Experience members of the team, and now we have got people who are experts in different areas, who do not have lived experience but bring so much to the organisation. The amount of work that we are doing with the gambling industry, in education, pro sport and now in the US has just increased hugely, there has been a lot of change and I found it very rewarding to be a part of.

EPIC: In terms of looking ahead, what excites you in terms of challenges for EPIC?

PF: I think we’ve only just scratched the surface in terms of our reach. As our reputation grows, so does the potential to be the pioneers in something that is pretty ground-breaking. We will continue doing what we are doing on a much larger scale and there are some incredibly exciting initiatives and announcements coming in the next few days and weeks.

The ability to go global even further is very exciting as we continue to take what we do here to other countries - that's where the excitement is more than anything. We already work in 16 countries and that will be over 20 within 3 months of airways opening again post-pandemic. Ultimately, what we do here at EPIC can save lives. We have an important role to play now and moving forward and I’m extremely grateful to have enjoyed my time here at EPIC so far. I am enthused and excited as to what the future has to offer.