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Meet the Red Card Team

Tony Kelly

Managing Director and Founder

I plied my trade in the Swedish 2nd Division as well as the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Divisions of the English Football League in a 9 year career. I spent 3 years at Stoke City under legendary managers such as Alan Ball and Lou Macari and had numerous highs and lows during that period, namely a Wembley winners medal and my famous ‘YouTube’ goal at Anfield in a 2-2 draw in the 1991 League Cup!

If I knew then what I know now, with regards to how professional therapy can be a ‘life saver’, I would not be writing this article. ‘Problem gambling’ can be helped with proper treatment, which may include Psychological therapy. There is no magical cure as it’s an illness and should be treated as such.

We will endeavour to find out what triggers people’s compulsive behaviour and urge for compulsive gambling and I am sure with, your full commitment and continued therapy, together we can accomplish our aim.

Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor

COMPANY Director

Paul joined Red Card because he is worried about the rise of gambling and its long term negative impact. Within Red Card Paul is responsible for overseeing governance processes.

Outside Red Card, Paul is a Management Consultant with cover 30 years experience of delivering change and supporting organisations across the Financial Services, Oil/Gas, Government and Social Enterprise industries.

As well as being a director of Red Card, Paul is also a director of a firm production CIC called SkipzProductions.

In addition, Paul is a judge on the Management Book of the Year awards, an Associate Lecturer for the Open University Maths Technology school and ian external specialist for the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment where he sets syllabuses and writes course materials. He obtained MBA from Open University Business School in and studying (albeit very slowly) for a Doctorate at Middlesex Business School.
Finally Paul authors and speaks on a wide range of subjects covering technology (covering AI and Big Data), offshoring, working for yourself, entrepreneurship and change management.

Sandra Mtandabari

Counselling Psychologist

Sandra Mtandabari is a Chartered and Registered Counselling Psychologist with over 20 years of experience in the field of mental health, working in the NHS, voluntary sector and in private practice.

Her approach to therapeutic practice is integrative, informed by cognitive behavioural, schema and existential models, also incorporating systemic principles & motivational interviewing techniques. Working with adults and adolescents, Sandra offers individual and group therapy, for most psychological presentations including addictions.

As an integrative practitioner, Sandra endeavours to work with a holistic approach, thus ensures all the existential dimensions (psychological, physical, social & spiritual) are addressed at the assessment and treatment of clients.

Harj Gahley

Non Executive Director / Advisor

Having been through many struggles as a recovered gambling addict, Harj truly knows what it is like to hit rocket bottom.  Having spent almost £250,000 on his gambling, this addiction nearly cost everything he loved meaning  children, wife, family and even his own life.

I was afraid to ask my family, friends and Sikh/Indian community for help because I felt embarrassed. However, I put my ego to the side and asked a professional therapist for help and because of her CBT treatment, I was able to dig deep within myself, build my confidence and quit gambling. I was able to reignite my passion for entrepreneurship and now own multiple business, that has given me financial certainty and time freedom to live the life I deserve.

The United Kingdom gives around £1.2 billion annually for gambling addiction, which proves gambling is no longer a problem, it is an epidemic. The number of suicides, unemployment, homeless and imprisonment as a result of problem gambling is shocking. Due to my experience and journey with gambling addiction, it is my belief that we need a proactive approach as opposed to a reactive approach around gambling awareness to make the gambling industry, safer.

Charlotte Bradley

Charlotte Bradley

My name is Charlotte and I am an affected other of gambling disorder. My fiancé is a recovering gambling addict and has been in recovery since March 2018. Throughout the recovery process, I have found there to be minimal support for loved ones affected by a person’s gambling disorder and so I really want to try and raise awareness of this by sharing our story in a positive way. I have written a blog about my experiences which has been shared via a number of media platforms.
I recently graduated as a Bachelor of Arts in Early Years with a First-Class Honours and conducted my final written piece of research on the impact of access and exposure to gambling related content in children.
Alongside this, my partner and I are in the process of developing Future-Proof Project CIC, a service aimed at providing peer support for disordered gamblers and their affected others together as well as staff development sessions on increasing awareness of gambling related harms in earlier education, predominantly primary.
Since then I am rebuilding my life, working full-time as well as being part of a panel of interim Experts by Experience for the Gambling Commission, have worked with probation mentoring others and am involved with Gamcare (treatment provider) in varying capacities. I hope to help others avoid the pitfalls associated with Gambling Harm.

Bradley Riddell

BA – Ad.Dip in Integrative Counselling - MBACP

I have been actively involved in the world of addiction since 2001, when I began working for the National charity Addaction, counselling substance mis-users with drug and alcohol issues. I have worked with families of addicts for the charity CRI-Patched, and for the charity Breakeven which specialises in the area of gambling addiction offering free counselling to problem gamblers and their ‘significant others’ ie: friends and family.

I recently began my own private practice in 2014 based in Maidstone & Brighton specialising in addiction therapy whilst continuing my work with problem gambling with Breakeven who have offices throughout the South East of England.
My interests in addiction stem from my own experiences in my earlier years when I began to use alcohol & recreational drugs heavily and obsessively. Interestingly for an “Addictions Therapist” I am not a particular fan of the term “addict”.

Whilst I recognise that when used appropriately it can have tremendously healing potential I’m very aware that when used derogatively it can cause stigma and shame, adding to the addictive behaviour and thinking, and not helping it. For this reason therapeutic work needs to be undertaken sensitively, compassionately and with empathic understanding for the pain the person in the grip of the addictive compulsions is going through. I work in an integrated way and with a keen interest in Neuro-scientific research into brain chemistry. In my experience these insights can help clients understand what was previously inexplicable and greatly aid therapeutic progress and integration of self.

I am a member of the BACP and an active member of the Counselling-Directory on whose site I have had several articles on addiction published.

I am currently in the process of becoming an accredited member of the BACP.

Kevan

Kevan Mailey

Lived Experience Facilitator

Hi, my name is Kevan. I’m 45, and I gambled for nearly 30 years, starting from a very young age on the spot machines. Every penny I had was spent in the slots, very quickly this started to affect my family. My gambling continued to escalate during my teens into my 20s and 30s. Eventually, in my early 40s, I decided to do something about my problem.
In July 2018, I attended The Gordon Moody Association Rehab in Beckenham. It was here I found the hope and desire and the professional help to get my self better. I was there for fourteen weeks of residential help plus an additional seven weeks at the halfway house.
I returned to Scotland in December 2018. Since then, I have slowly rebuilt my life. I’m currently in full-time employment building relationships again I am part of the interim Gambling commission EBE group also involved with the Alliance Scotland and Glasgow City Council Gambling harm group. I hope by sharing my lived experience, I can help people understand how dangerous gambling can become but also give a bit of hope that with help and desire, there is another option.
Mark Pickering

Mark Pickering

Lived Experience Facilitator

Hi, my name is Mark. I have lots of lived experience due to being on earth 53 years. On a more sobering note, my experience of Gambling started very early in life with slot machines whilst on holiday in Skegness. I used to make that 50 pence bag of 1p’s last forever. This was due to the fact once they were gone, I wasn’t getting any more and it meant going back to the caravan. My other experience as a youngster was knowing that dad used to get paid on a Friday and would usually roam in about 11 that night. How we lived the next week depended on whether he had won or lost.
At 18 I had a real problem with slot machines. Fortunately, this only lasted about a year as when I met my future wife my whole outlook changed. Suddenly, I was happy rather than bored and my priorities for gambling suddenly evaporated.
After a very long period of being happy (30 years), having kids and a great career I lost my way. Divorce, back operation, dad passed away to living in a flat on my own. I started to gamble online, and it quickly ran out of control. 4 years later what came was homeless, prison and ultimately recovery.
Since then I am rebuilding my life, working full-time as well as being part of a panel of interim Experts by Experience for the Gambling Commission, have worked with probation mentoring others and am involved with Gamcare (treatment provider) in varying capacities. I hope to help others avoid the pitfalls associated with Gambling Harm.
Darren Lane

Darren Lane

Lived Experience Facilitator

My name is Darren, and I have suffered from a gambling addiction for the majority of my adult life. My gambling started when I was around 11 years old and what I thought was a normal hobby quickly started to severely impact not only my life, but those around me too.
My life was consumed with gambling thoughts and actions 24 hours a day from my late teens. This resulted in broken relationships, financial problems, no self-worth, and suicidal thoughts. My gambling started at Amusement Arcades, quickly escalating into gambling on anything available to me, from football bets to FOBTS to online gambling.
I want to help raise awareness of gambling harm, particularly for young people. If I had this awareness in my teens, I honestly believe my life would have taken a different path. Following my extensive support and my acceptance to having an addiction, I am now gamble free and enjoy a wonderful, fulfilling life.

Nicola Jaques

AFFECTED OTHER FACILITATOR

I am the former wife of a disordered gambler, unknowingly for more than a decade.

I was married at 24 and now a mum to two children. They were aged just four and two years old, on the discovery of my husband’s addiction via a text message in late 2017.

As with many families affected by gambling harms there were severe debts, but it is the impact of legacy harms emotionally, mentally, and physically on the health and wellbeing for myself and those around me that led to gain a better education and awareness of gambling disorder.

It is through the daily practical challenges faced and the toll in man hours this required I realised that therapy alone for an affected other was not enough.

It also exposed the glaring holes that exist across all organizations when trying to work through the aftermath of gambling harms, whilst also trying to support and care for a loved one in their time of need.

With this understanding through lived experience and minimal research into the effects on families living in the wake of legacy harms I sought to build networks with those working towards safer gambling practices.

Within this community I found access to greater resources, professionals in the field, academic studies and more importantly priceless lessons that lived experience affords.

With a professional background within media and a willingness to share my own story, i am able to communicate effectively with others affected, and professional bodies and organizations with sensitivity and empathy. I am dedicated to using skills and abilities I have built in my writing to share experience but also look and explore innovative ways to increase support for vulnerable families, give a platform for those voices and seek new methods of early intervention to drive down the numbers of those subject to gambling harms in the future.

Ben Jones

Gambling awareness facilitator

At the age of 18 I had the world at my feet, I was playing rugby at a high level with real hopes of becoming professional, and as a fall back I was getting straight A’s in my A levels so I knew I had a strong academic background to fall back on. Due to injury, rugby didn’t work out, and when I went to University to study Psychology, I started to suffer from what would become a 10 year long battle with depression.

When my girlfriend fell pregnant, I started to look for a way to support us, so turned to gambling. I found that gambling also acted as a way to escape my depression and pretty soon I was in the depths of gambling addiction. This worsened over time and the very thing that I was using to escape my troubles, was actually the thing that was sending me into an ever worsening downward spiral that I could not escape from.

I was working as a sales manager and was bringing home decent money for my family, I continued to gamble and started to use lines of credit to fund my gambling, during a 3 year period I had over 100 pay-day loans as well as credit cards overdrafts, and other lines of credit, but it still wasn’t enough.

I started to steal money from my employer to make sure that I could still gamble, and this continued for around 3 years, by which point I was stealing tens of thousands a month. I tried to stop in July 2018 after a suicide attempt, but my account manager at the betting company lured me back in and by November 2018 I had stolen £370,000 and was caught. I attempted suicide again, and it was at this point I realised I had to turn my life around. Gambling was ruining everything in my life, and my now wife was heavily pregnant with our second child and I wanted to make sure that one day my daughters would be proud of me.

I spent the next 12 months doing everything I could to recover, as well as working with some gambling operators to raise awareness of how gambling can destroy lives. In November 2019, with a 11 month old and 8 year old daughter at home, I was sentenced to 3 years in prison.

During my time in prison I continued my recovery and I knew that upon release I wanted to use my story and experiences to help and make sure that others did not have to go through the same thing I had. Shortly after release I secured a job in a role where I speak to people at their lowest point every single day, and this is something that brings me an unbelievable sense of satisfaction and self worth.

However, I believe that we don’t need to let people get to “rock bottom” before we help them, what if we can prevent them from getting there in the first place. This is where I saw Red Card were recruiting and I knew that it was a perfect role for me. Awareness and education are the strongest tools we have at our disposal to prevent the next generation from falling into the same traps I did, in a world where gambling is more accessible than ever.

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