This morning, YGAM issued a statement confirming that Willows is set to leave at the end of the month. After establishing the company in 2014, with lived-experienced partners Anne and Keith Evans, the charity was the UK’s first dedicated youth-focused education programme.
Commenting on his departure, he stated: “It has been a privilege to lead this amazing charity for seven incredible years. With the endless support and dedication of my co-founders Anne and Keith Evans, I have been on an extraordinary personal journey, and I feel extremely proud of what we and the staff team have achieved together.”
The organisation looks to raise awareness of gambling-harms and compulsive behaviours at formative ages, and Willow’s stewardship saw YGAM launch its education programme across schools in England and Wales, with its directive supported by youth organisations, the Metropolitan Police and Premier League football clubs.
“In 2014, I was determined to use my experiences of gambling harm to create a positive force for good and focus our efforts on evidence-led education and prevention,” Willows added.
“We have since developed a portfolio of award-winning programmes that are now helping to safeguard young people in every region of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“This is a special charity and one that has exciting plans for the future. I will always passionately support the exceptional staff team and I look forward to seeing what they can achieve next.”
Chief Operating Officer Helen Martin will take on leadership responsibilities until YGAM’s Board of Trustees elects a new CEO to replace Willows.
Moreover, Willows stated that YGAM has entered its ‘third strategic cycle’, in which the charity is expanding its safer gambling training services with BetKnowMore UK.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the staff team, I would like to thank Lee for the tremendous efforts and passion that he has devoted to the charity,” noted Mike Wojcik, Chair of YGAM.
“Lee has achieved so much for this sector and has established an organisation that is making a real difference. He leaves the YGAM in the strongest position to continue our progress and achieve our mission to educate and safeguard future generations”.