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Gambling crackdown: 888 fine sends the right message

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Today, I almost fell off my chair to note that the Chief Executive of the usually media-shy Gambling Commission said that there is no room for vulnerable people to be affected by gambling-related problems.

That said, companies like 888 are not unique. Look at the stories of thousands of people who have become addicted to gambling and had their lives ruined because of it. Debt, losing friends, family, jobs, some even taking to crime and some even worse, taking their own lives.

My dad used 888, they sent him expensive marketing texts, even after he’d gone to prison and stopped using the site.

With the Government set to review Fixed Odds Betting Terminals in October, the online industry will be the next to come under scrutiny. Let this record-breaking fine be a lesson to the industry that there is nowhere to hide. My family’s story shows that gambling addiction has serious repercussions for more people than just the addict themselves, and that the industry has a long way to go to become more socially responsible.

CONTACT: tel: 07950 313113, e-mail:

I’m celebrating #CommonwealthDay

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Media Enquiries: Adam Bradford, tel: 07950 313113, e-mail:, Sophie Lap, Salix & Co, 07725 555 030,

Today The Queen has urged us to combat exclusion in her Commonwealth Day message.

She has talked about how we need to embrace diversity and support those in need.

“Let us give it practical effect by supporting those in need and those who feel excluded in all walks of life. By doing so, we will continue to build a truly representative Commonwealth community.”

 60% of the Commonwealth’s population are under 30 years old and therefore it makes me even more privileged to be one of the 2016 Queen’s Young Leaders, who will receive this special award in June this year.
After being diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a form of autism, and suffering the stigma and lack of understanding which went with that, I have often been ‘classified,’ ‘labelled’ and ‘treated’ in a different way to others. All I’ve ever wanted is equal opportunities and appreciation of who I am. It is really truly my mum and dad who have stuck by me through thick and thin, given me hope and determination to carry on in times of trouble and convinced me to follow my heart in everything I do. I set up a small business, have mentored hundreds of other young people from ex offenders through to other young disabled people and many more around the world.
I fully support today’s Commonwealth message – it is modern and current but cast in traditional values which our country has evolved with but I think, sometimes left behind. Love thy neighbour. Do we really love our neighbours that much any more?
Let’s embrace Commonwealth Day today, I will be attending the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey alongside Her Majesty The Queen, other members of the Royal family and dignitaries and world leaders from across the Commonwealth.
The Westminster Abbey service will be the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the UK. Highlights will include the principal reflection given by Kofi Annan, former secretary general of the United Nations, and a musical performance by Ellie Goulding.

Happy International Mother Language Day!

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The theme of the 2016 International Mother Language Day is “Quality education, language(s) of instruction and learning outcomes.” It’s something I talk about a lot – diversity. For years now it has been the buzzword of politicians, educators, legislators and society as a whole.

I think of the world now as a collective, we’re all here on this planet to achieve something – not just for ourselves and to have a good life, but for the greater good and the rest of society. What kind of a world would we be living in if we didn’t look out for each other? What would life be like now if we didn’t care about the environment? What if we didn’t take the time to understand one another, not just our immediate neighbours but our international brothers and sisters? I’d hate to imagine the consequences of a society like that.

We are after all one race, one humanity and one world. If you think of your mother language like a currency, a medium through which you give and receive, it makes this concept easier. Today we are celebrating the fact that we can all learn, advance, respect and understand through our own languages. It is on the UN’s agenda and it is on our agenda. We should celebrate our mother tongue and respect the power it brings – it brings us love, kindness, education, learning, decisions and fairness. In our nations our language is our common currency, we use it to share with each other and to progress our ideas and projects.

To illustrate I take a quote from the UN:

On 16 May 2007 the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution called upon Member States “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world”. By the same resolution, the General Assembly proclaimed 2008 as the International Year of Languages, to promote unity in diversity and international understanding, through multilingualism and multiculturalism.

International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh.

For those who cannot hear or speak, we also have languages in other forms – sign language and braille for example. They also develop with time, our linguistics, our language application and the way we communicate are ever evolving, even more so with technology, emojis and tweets. The way we communicate is changing and let’s not forget the power our language can bring us.

You might hear the phrase ‘we’re on all the same page’ or ‘we’re all speaking the same language here.’ There is no reason to use words for badness, hate and negativity. Easy for me to say but sometimes it happens; we should all take time today to give thanks for our mother language and use it wisely and respectfully to advance society.

Thank you everyone, this is for you

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It is with great honour and excitement that I can announce to you today that I am one of the Queen’s Young Leaders 2016.

The award, which will be presented by Her Majesty The Queen in June next year, celebrates young people who have done exceptional things in their communities to make a difference at home and further afield.

This unique, life-changing Award is comprised of a tailored package of training and mentoring. Winners will also receive a one-week residential programme, during which they will receive their Award from Her Majesty The Queen.

I am currently working on a number of charitable projects through my consultancy and working with the National Autistic Society on their major behaviour change campaign around Autism for 2016.

I want to thank everyone who has been a mentor, a support, a friend and supported me to get to where I am today. My parents, my family, friends, have all been a major rock in my life through thick and through thin. UnLtd – the foundation for social entrepreneurs, The National Autistic Society. Salix Consulting, Unis Not For Me, Hattie Wrixon, Sarah Wrixon, Rodney Levine-Boateng, Emma Goodden, Levi Roots, Peter Jones, Patricia Head, Steve Watson, Andrew Seaton, Sheffield Newspapers, the BBC in Sheffield, there are many more but I want to thank you all and will do so personally.

You can read more about the awards and the winners here

BBC’s Sunday Morning Live debate

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Sunday Morning Live

Me and my dad were very grateful to the BBC’s Sian Williams and her team for hosting a debate on addictions on their programme Sunday Morning Live on BBC1, featuring our campaign and our beliefs on why gambling addiction should be treated like other medically recognised addictions. Watch the debate here. 

NHS – Gambling Addiction

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Adam Bradford and David Bradford

We are really pleased to have been able to team up with the NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group to raise awareness of gambling addiction among medical professionals to further build the case for the addiction to be recognised as a medical problem.

Read more about the initiative we have launched with the team at the NHS here. 

A trip to NYC

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Will I Am

Recently I travelled to New York City to attend’s 360 conference, learning from some of the world’s leading innovators, entrepreneurs and social changemakers. I even got to meet of Black Eyed Peas fame and heard his keynote speech on his phenomenal rise so far. Read more in my Huffington Post column.

Our trip to Downing Street

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AB Downing Street ITV

From ITV News/Press Assocation

A father and son from Sheffield have taken their campaign to Downing Street today to demand tighter regulation of the gambling industry.

David Bradford spent eight months in prison after stealing £50,000 from his employers to fund his secret gambling addiction.

His family were only told of the shock revelations in full in a letter which David wrote from prison.

Later, they discovered their home had been re-mortgaged to pay off David’s debts. Now they face losing their family home of 30 years in the next couple of weeks. David’s debts total nearly half a million pounds.

Since the sentencing, David’s son Adam launched a campaign to raise awareness of gambling addiction and to push for tighter control of the industry’s products and advertising. He also wants more support to be available for for gambling addicts.

David Bradford has spoken out about the emotional toll of his gambling addiction.

In April of this year, Adam attracted the attention of Prime Minister David Cameron after launching an open letter to all the political party leaders calling for stricter regulation and controls over the industry.

The Prime Minister responded praising Adam’s campaign and detailing some of the measures the Government has introduced to protect gamblers.

This campaign raises some really important issues and the Conservatives agree with the general thrust of it. We support a responsible gambling industry which offers fun and enjoyment to its customers but which also ensures protection to players and works to prevent people gambling excessively and becoming addicted.

We have therefore introduced new mandatory player protections for people who gamble on high stakes gaming machines. These include suspensions in play when players reach limits they have set up and alerts when they have been playing for 30 minutes or when £250 has been spent. We have introduced tough new rules to insist anyone staking over £50 has to use account-based play or load cash over the counter – this will increase the potential for interaction with staff and the identification of problem gambling. In addition, we have given councils greater powers to restrict the numbers of betting shops on their high street. We have also launched a review of gambling advertising, covering both the watershed and sign-up offers.

We do, of course, want to see the gambling industry do more to recognise and mitigate the dangers of excessive gambling so that fewer people fall victim to gambling addiction.


Now months into David’s addiction treatment, the family say David Cameron’s letter does not go far enough and they have gained the support of Sheffield’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Group who are helping them to raise awareness of gambling addiction through publicity support for GPs to better understand the addiction and its effects.

The 2010 British Gambling Prevalence survey highlighted that around half a million people could suffer with a gambling related problem but David and his son Adam believe the real figure could be more than double that. Research also suggests that a gambling addict’s actions can affect up to 10 other individuals around them, including family and friends, so the real figure of people affected by gambling addiction could be approaching 20 million – a third of Britain’s population.

With the knock-on cost to society of Britain’s drug problem reaching £13bn, with 2.7million addicts, the cost of gambling addiction to society could soon be exposed as Britain’s new multi-billion-pound addiction.

Adam is now calling for an independent inquiry into gambling addiction in Britain.

I am very grateful to the Prime Minister for his support earlier on this year, however his words are not enough. We need to see forward-thinking political action to tackle this growing problem. Over the past year I’ve seen countless tragedies and harrowing stories come to light which highlight the dangers of gambling addiction. Not enough is being done to tackle the dangers and I want to see David Cameron deliver on the words he said to me back in May.


Open Letter – gambling addiction

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BBC Radio 4 Today

Me and my dad spoke on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, launching our Open Letter to the party leaders ahead of the election. We want them to take gambling addiction seriously and impose regulation which prevents dangerous patterns of play developing, including pushing for more statutory industry funding for research and treatment into the problem.

BBC Radio 5 Live – April 2015 – Debate about gambling addictions

We also picked up coverage across online outlets and The Guardian, including a response from industry representatives. 

The letter reads:

TO: David Cameron (Conservative), Ed Miliband (Labour), Nick Clegg (Lib Dems), Natalie Bennett (Green), Nicola Sturgeon (SNP), Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru) and Nigel Farage (UKIP)

​Dear Sirs,

Online gambling addiction is a serious and growing problem, yet not enough is being done to curb its impact or support those affected. One year ago, out of the blue, my father told me he was going to be jailed for fraud – this was directly caused by a secret online gambling habit that spiralled out of control and led to debts of tens of thousands of pounds. He isn’t alone. Although the industry announced voluntary measures to tackle problem gambling, there may be as many as half a million sufferers and these measures don’t go far enough. Turnover in this sector is set to break £3bn in the next two years and industry needs to do more to detect addictive behaviour and support and protect those suffering in silence.

Ian Duncan Smith’s pre-paid benefit cards would fail to deal with the breadth of those affected, while the Government’s pursuit of tax revenues from the industry does nothing to help the individuals unable to control their gambling habit. Gambling is an addiction, just like heroin and alcohol, yet there is insufficient regulation in place to stop large multinationals from tearing families, like mine, apart. It is time for our government to prioritise the individuals and families affected by problem gambling.

We want the industry to:

  • Only show adverts after the watershed, with less focus on gambling as a way to ‘make easy money,’ and explicit explanation around the terms and conditions of their ‘free bet’ promotions
  • Monitor users’ activity much more closely and team up with banks and each other to identify large proportions of salaries being spent on gambling activity and to then proactively work with these vulnerable groups
  • Talk more publicly about gambling addiction and identify their social responsibility within the mass market much more. Advertising campaigns or more publicised support for those with gambling addictions would help

Will you help us to reform the gambling industry to become more socially responsible?

Adam Bradford

Fight against extreme poverty

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Adam Bradford visits 10 Downing Street.

Young Sheffield entrepreneur Adam Bradford visited 10 Downing Street as part of a new campaign to urge the EU to take firm action against extreme poverty in the developing world.

The 21-year-old from Waterthorpe is backing the ONE Campaign as a Youth Ambassador, to press candidates and sitting MEPS in the upcoming European elections to put the issue on the agenda.

He was chosen for the role after recognition for his work for the Peter Jones’ Enterprise Academies, and for his efforts for the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services.
He said: “We are working to persuade sitting and candidate MEPs from Yorkshire and Humber to sign the ONEvote2014 pledge, committing them to help put eradicating extreme poverty on the agenda in the next EU parliament.

“We also want to support continued investments by the EU to boost agriculture, healthcare and access to energy in the developing world.”

UK campaign director Diane Sheard said: “If enough MEP candidates pledge to fight to support poor countries, there is a real chance of ending extreme poverty by 2030.”


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