ONE of Bolton’s leading employers has backed a scheme designed to help workers combat gambling problems.

Posters have gone up at Bolton at Home offices and UCAN centres across the borough as part of the ‘Bet You Can Help’ initiative.

Staff and trade union officials will be receiving extra training to spot the telltale signs of problem gambling, so they can offer support and counselling to those affected.

Bolton at Home bosses signed up to a charter, pledging to back Bet You Can Help, which is being led by Unite the Union, the Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and the Beacon Counselling Trust.

Jon Lord, the firm’s chief executive, said “Harmful gambling can have a devastating impact on individuals, families and society.

“It’s a growing national issue, especially with easier access to gamble online, but we have an opportunity for employers and trade unions to become more actively involved in helping to prevent harm and provide support for those affected.

“We’re proud to be among the first organisations in the country to sign-up to this charter.

“It means we’ll tackle the stigma around harmful gambling and treat it as a significant health and wellbeing issue.”

Posters in the workplace and community ventures will feature tear-off slips so gamblers can discretely seek assistance from the project. Rooms will also be made available so the difficulties can be discussed in private. One-to-one advice is also being offered by the Beacon trust.

Some of the other companies signing up to the charter, which is also backed by the Trades Union Congress, following its launch were other housing organisations, local authorities, and NHS providers, as well as businesses like Toyota, Bentley and Royal Mail.

Controversy has raged in recent years over the proliferation of fixed-odds betting terminals, dubbed the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ by one north-west MP. Betting giants William Hill and Betfred announced possible shop closures after maximum bet provisions were brought in.