2021 marked 50 years of the Gordon Moody organisation providing treatment for those whose lives have been severely affected by gambling addiction. Gordon House, as it was known then, was first opened in South London in 1971 by the Reverend Gordon Moody.
It was set up as a hostel for men who often had nowhere else to live and needed a safe place to focus on their recovery.
Pictured: Scene from our 50th anniversary celebration
Our founder’s involvement in gambling dates back to the 1950s. The Reverend Gordon E. Moody, MBE was a Methodist minister who became secretary of the British Churches’ Council on Gambling in 1958. Reverend Moody held this post for 20 years and during this time he was influential in the shaping of the 1968 Gambling Act.
In 1964 Gordon Moody introduced Gamblers Anonymous to the UK. This was an organisation that began in Los Angeles in 1957 and still continues to provide therapeutic groups and peer support to disordered gamblers worldwide.
Gordon Moody was the honorary Founder-Patron of Gamblers Anonymous in the UK until his death in 1994. To find out more about Gamblers Anonymous visit www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk for more information.
Reverend Moody realised that for some the weekly meetings were not enough due to the fact they had nowhere to live and very little support from others and in 1971 Gordon House was opened.
Treatment over the years
The initial aim for Gordon House was to provide a safe place to stay for gamblers to focus on their recovery.
After a few years, this approach of working in a residential setting with a group of clients soon developed into the residential treatment programme that is still in use today.
In the 1990s a second facility was opened in Dudley, West Midlands providing additional bed spaces and treatment provision outside of London.
Over time the need to provide treatment for women as well as men became apparent and a specific residential service for women was set up in 2002. This ran for seven years until 2009. The programme ended because it was felt that the length of the treatment programme was thought to be a barrier for women seeking treatment because of childcare and family commitments.
Like the men’s programme the length of residential treatment at this time was nine months, which was a massive commitment for anyone.
This was shortened to six months in 2009 and further again to three months in 2010, which is the current length of our male residential programme. The new women’s residential centre that is due to be opened later in 2021 will probably have a different duration and approach to that of the men’s centres drawing on the experience of the support we have provided over the years.
In 2014 the Gordon Moody Association launched a Retreat and Counselling programme for women gamblers that meant they could experience the peer support and face-to-face group sessions across two weekend retreats as well as receiving one-to-one sessions from home.
This allowed women to balance their lives more effectively while getting treatment. This programme was such a success that it is still going strong providing treatment for men and women for whom a full residential programme is not suitable.
With the knowledge in the treatment of women gamblers we have gained over the years we will this year, again, open a residential service. It will be a shorter programme than the original residential program and will be specifically designed to meet the needs of women severely affected by gambling harm and requiring this high level of intervention.
In 2004 Gordon Moody launched its international support service Gambling Therapy. Available as a website and later as a free to download phone app, Gambling Therapy provides advice and signposting to thousands of people around the world in multiple languages each year.
It also provides support to ex-Gordon Moody residents through online groups as well as support to other gamblers through various groups and forums.
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We are looking confidently to the future with new services on the horizon that we plan to ensure that everyone has access to treatment that helps them build a life free of gambling addiction. We aim to be around for at least another 50 years and beyond to continue delivering treatment and support those affected by problem gambling helping them to reclaim and rebuild their lives. To support Gordon Moody through volunteering click here or to donate click here. More information for organisations wishing to become corporate supporters of Gordon Moody is available here.