We’d like to thank and recommend the guys at EPIC. Both players and staff walked out of the workshop with an insight and understanding into the scale of gambling addiction. The instant impact which the stories carried, backed up by the questions asked are definitely a recipe for a positive approach to how this is managed within the CFC academy. We all look forward to working with you again next season.
Head of Lifestyle and Mentoring
'Working with EPIC and Paul Buck has been one of the best decisions we could ever take. EPIC gave amazing eye opening training sessions last November at our offices that got everyone impressed and wanting to do more! Through Paul's excellent knowledge and expertise, we can really take consumer protection to a new level through innovative projects. It is an honour to be working with such a brilliant team.'
Integrity Analytics Manager
The Rugby Players’ Association engages EPIC Risk Management to deliver interactive education sessions to our professional rugby playing members. Professional athletes are recognised as being at greater risk of developing gambling issues than the general public and so we need to provided interactive education for our members in an impactful way. In doing this and by the use of personal stories and experience, EPIC have exceeded expectations, not only in providing top quality education but also valuable advice and guidance at a strategic level.
RPA Rugby Director
"My sincere thanks for your recent and particularly powerful series of lectures on Gambling Awareness. Exposing your own journey in such a public and heartfelt manner has clearly resonated with those within this Garrison (military and civilian); it has also provided, for the first time, some objective analysis. The feedback I have received has been extremely positive and it has allowed me to consider our Gambling Awareness strategy for NI Garrison"
Bridagier J Swift OBE
The financial services sector is in the business of risk and many parts of it are focused on risk taking, or at least risk assessment. It is not a big jump to the belief that some individuals, in fields such as currency or derivatives trading, are temperamentally and behaviourally drawn to the adrenalin of risk and gambling. What is less known is the extent to which we, as a sector, attract people who find it difficult to leave such behavioural characteristic outside the office - or at least until now.
Graham Gooch - England Cricket legend
There are a lot of dangers in the world for young people now and I am particularly interested in helping out with the education of young cricketers with all the worries and concerns of online gambling and getting into bad habits. If we can educate people, make them aware of the pitfalls and get insight from people who have been down that route and fallen foul then, hopefully, they can be warned about the potential dangers. Sportsmen, in particular, do find themselves with time on their hands. When I played people would go to a betting shop if they wanted to have a flutter. Now the temptation to bet online is great. In the social media world it’s very easy to get into that.
England Cricket legend who funded EPIC’s programme with the PCA
East India Club
At the East India Club we had the misfortune to suffer as a result of crime linked to problem gambling. We employed Paul Buck and his organisation to provide support to our staff and to build awareness of the risk of problem gambling. This has proved most successful in educating, advising and re-assuring our management and staff and has involved an audit of financial procedures, updating policy, workshops and 1 to 1’s.
Finally we have been grateful for the advice and assistance with our efforts to recover some of the financial damage, through legal processes and the gambling commission.
Chairman, East India Club, St James’s Square, London
Rugby Players Ireland
As part of our Player Wellbeing Programme at Rugby Players Ireland, we aspire to deliver professional and impactful support to all our members. EPIC, as an organisation, has worked with other professional player associations and came highly recommended, not just by the staff at the associations but by the players who attended the sessions. On the back of this we invited Paul to Ireland to present to our professional rugby teams, and the feedback was extremely positive. His use of personal stories and the hard hitting reality of gambling addiction provided some real insights from our members. Paul has been very proactive in providing support after the education sessions and we look forward to working with EPIC again this season.
Rugby Players Ireland, Player Development Programme Manager
Worcestershire CCC player
“Paul’s session was a real eye-opener. It’s an amazing story but a shocking story, the way Paul put it across was fantastic. It’s all about creating awareness. Hopefully it’s prevention rather than cure and will stop players across the country from falling into the pitfalls of gambling. It’s not just about looking at yourself but also looking out for your team mates. As cricketers we spend a lot of time together in dressing rooms and hotels up and down the country. It’s really important that we all look out for each other. If we see any concerning habits we need to speak up and look after each other as best we can.”
PCA Chairman and current Worcestershire CCC player
University of Hertfordshire
Having EPIC deliver workshop’s was an opportunity for us to allow an authentic dialogue with both staff and students, which was made very real through the lived experience. We believe an authentic person delivering the workshop allowed for a shared experience and ensured participants did not feel judgement. We did not want this to be a concept or idea, this is about the reality of gambling and being able to create a safe space for students to share views and experiences, with someone who understands the issue. It also fosters a peer to peer learning space and hopefully removes some of the stigma of speaking about gambling.
This comes from our belief that we need to help educate students for their financial future, both during their time at university and beyond, and goes some way to help them build the resilience they need throughout life. We hope that this is brought to life through the experiences of the workshop facilitators and that this is very much not a ‘lecture’.
Head of Student Finance
In his presentation about addiction Patrick Foster delivers a shocking, hard hitting and brutally honest portrayal of the dangers of gambling. His story is one that speaks to every person in the room as it is about so much more than the concept of addiction. He speaks frankly and graphically about the consequences of his gambling habit, addressing the stark reality that it is not only debt that will always haunt him but his ill-treatment of colleagues, friends and family also. With access to online gambling platforms widening throughout the gaming industry young people increasingly need to be alerted to the potential dangers of participating in thrill seeking activities. Every young adult should hear Patrick’s story, it is truly eye-opening.
Carrie Walshe, Head of Sixth Form
Mr Foster gave a deeply moving account of his struggles with addiction and how it come so close to destroying him. Mr Foster’s message was not that we should never place a bet; he said that would be unrealistic; but that we should know he himself had sat in similar talks as a boy and assumed he would be the one to fall victim. Over the course of the hour, we learned about the stages of addiction, what addiction is not (a failure of will), and how we might be susceptible to suffering in the same way. It would be impossible to do justice for a talk delivered with such knowing and gravitas in writing, but I can report that there is no doubt Mr Foster has left a profound and lasting impression on a great number of boys.
Eton College, Pupil Testimonial
Having met with Paul Buck, Founder and Managing Director of EPIC, we at AON are keen to build a relationship with Paul and his team. It is a credit to EPIC that they have identified the negative impact that problem gambling can cause to UK businesses, at all levels, and have developed a comprehensive and scalable solution that can fit in with any organisations needs. The ideas and strategy of EPIC will reduce risks of my clients, and ensure that duty of care is fulfilled to all stakeholders.
The stories and experience shared by Mark were eye-opening to say the least, all students were engaged and interested for the entire period and left with a much greater understanding on the potential risks associated with gambling. Our students really benefitted from the open and honest reflection from people who treated them as adults. Mark did not come into the college and ward the student off gambling, preaching of the pitfalls and negatives should they choose to bet on sporting events – for this reason the sharing of their experiences had a much more positive impact. We will be inviting EPIC in again next year to again talk with our second year students and hope that this can continue in the future.
Lecturer in Football Studies – Lead Practitioner – Junior Development Football Coach | Specialist Sport
Mark Potter of EPIC Risk Management presented to the full Hibernian FC Development Squad at the Hibernian Training Centre on October 16th 2017.
His topic was focussed on “Gambling Awareness” – but, in fact, the content covered a far wider area, taking in decision making, life skills, substance abuse, nutrition and the integrity needed by a professional sportsman and a young person with responsibilities to self, family, team mates, and friends.
As the Hibernian Education Programme is based on the Personal Development of 17-20 year olds – on and off the football pitch – his approach perfectly hit the target and met our needs exactly.
The programme welcomes a number of speakers and presenters through the season but Mark’s visit is the one on which the players still comment, and there has been much reflection on its content, and his delivery, over the past six months.
Mark engaged with the players, held their attention, and spoke in a very personal and self revelatory way – so that his audience were in no doubt of the veracity of his account and the relevance of his experiences.
I would hope to work with Mark again: he had impact and wisdom to impart, and the young players of the Development Squad gained greatly from his visit.
Sky Betting and Gaming
Working with Paul and the EPIC team has been terrific. Through their own personal experience and expertise, they bring candour and authenticity to work with operators like SBG, who have safer gambling at the heart of everything we do. They also really ‘get’ our culture and are genuinely excited by what we can achieve together to minimise gambling related harm. EPIC recognize SBG as an operator truly committed not just to identifying problem gamblers among our customer base but also interacting with them. They have delivered excellent, revelatory and enjoyable training sessions for our employees but the really outstanding work is our partnership with them and the EFL. Through EPIC, we are delivering what we believe to be the largest and most comprehensive gambling education and awareness programme ever implemented in world sport. EPIC are a key part of our plans to make betting and gaming safer and lead the way in creating a sustainable future for the industry as a whole.
Tim Bishop, Managing Director, Risk and Safer Gambling
Thank you so much for coming to speak to the Sixth Form at Canford - it was an extraordinarily powerful and impassioned talk which clearly resonated with every one of the 250 pupils present. Your courage in speaking about events which are so personal and emotionally demanding so soon after they happened is remarkable, and one had a genuine sense of the pain and despair which you have been through. Indeed, in many ways it was far more than a talk about gambling and addiction, spanning the impact of depression and the emptiness which hardship can engender. But ultimately it was also a message of hope, the power relationships and the importance of honesty, and this certainly gave it real relevance to all those present. The message was conveyed with confidence, humility and intimacy, highlighted by the fact that one could have heard a pin drop throughout. Thank you again for delivering such a crucial talk which I know they will long remember, and for answering so candidly the range of questions at the end
Assistant Head - Richard Salmon
The talk given by Patrick Foster was extremely engaging. He spoke about his story. He had an easy childhood and upbringing and had what many would think is a perfect life playing first team sport for Oundle School and then playing for Northants as a professional cricketer. However, gambling took control of him and his life. For me, the talk wasn't just about gambling, although that was incredibly interesting, but it was about how his addiction took control of him, his actions and therefore his life. This addiction could be anything, not just gambling. When Patrick Foster reached out to his brother seven minutes before he was going to end his own life, it showed that mental health and addictions can be linked and need to be spoken about more and more. People need to be aware of them and the problems associated with gambling. If the people closest to Patrick had known about his 'problem' or he had shared it with them, it would not have got to this point. A very memorable and interesting talk. Thank you very much.”
Upper 6th Pupil at Oundle
City of London School
I thought it was terrific and one of the best PSHE talks I have ever attended. The boys were so attentive and I was impressed with the questions asked at the end. It was clearly something that resonated with them.
Ian Emerson, Head of Sixth Form
Our daughter was absolutely blown away by his honesty and said that you could hear a pin drop during the talk and everyone was incredibly impressed and full of admiration for him. Such a sobering subject that they all walked out and talked about it for hours afterwards and felt they had learnt so much. A few of her friends said it was by far and away the powerful PSHE talk they have heard, from the subject, the delivery and the way he drove it home to each of them. How wonderful of him to be teaching others about this addiction and having to live with it and building his life again after.
Oundle, Parent Testimonial
HM Prison Kirkham
With the help and support from Epic Risk Management over the last 12 months, we have successfully been able to continue running our "Inside Art" group here in the library. They have purchased for us paints, canvasses, brushes, for the men here at HMP Kirkham to express themselves through their drawings/paintings. Every man that comes in the library is given the opportunity to access art, whether they are an experienced artist or a beginner. To see their confidence grow, the calmness and creativity it produces is all aimed at helping with reducing reoffending. The art work is then with their permission displayed all around the prison in different departments, entered into competitions, and on display for all to see in the library. In November 2018, we held a very successful art exhibition at the Solaris Centre in Blackpool, to exhibit prisoner art to the outside community. Called "Breaking Through Unknown and Unseen" this exhibition of diverse and personal artwork produced under unconventional or difficult circumstances was a resounding success, working closely with The Art Society, Fylde. From this, we are going to exhibit the art in four of the major libraries within Lancashire. We also run a very successful card making service, with the help from EPIC for materials, we are producing up to 50 cards a week and selling them to our men here in the library, in visits to families and in the farm shop to the passing public.
Sarah Fleming, Library Manager
Patrick addressed our 6th form pupils on the topic of gambling addiction as part of a PSHEE day focused on Addictions. The talk received universally positive feedback from our pupils who were engaged from the start and did not lose focus at any moment. Pupils attended various talks and workshops this day, and Patrick’s session was the one that they have all been talking about since.
Patrick is an excellent speaker; and hearing about these issues from somebody who has such recent, personal experience of gambling addiction was incredibly powerful, and I am sure will have positively impacted their future experiences and decisions. The fact that Patrick comes from a similar background as many of our pupils made it easy for them to relate to him.
Furthermore, Patrick provided us with outstanding resources that we were able to use for follow-up sessions in tutor time sessions. The tutors who led these discussions reported back that the resources were highly useful and that pupils were fully engaged and keen to participate in the discussions they provoked. We will definitely be inviting Patrick back to address our pupils in the future, and I would recommend his services without hesitation.
Richard Alvers, Head of PSHEE at Brighton College