On April 3rd KCAGoG received a Wellness Intitiative Fund (WIF) grant from Eastern Kings, Western Kings and Kingston/Greenwood Community Health Boards.
Reducing Dependency on VLT Revenues
In our previous WIF grant (2012) we focused on beginning a campaign to raise awareness of the presence of VLTs in our county. Rather than taking a negative approach, we chose to highlight businesses that have elected not to use VLTs as part of their business strategy. This is for several reasons: 1. We want to keep a positive and constructive atmosphere. 2. We want to make a VLT-Free model more commercially viable by encouraging citizens to support such businesses. And 3) It demonstrates in a very visible and practical manner that these dangerous machines are not needed for a business to make a healthy profit.
The logical continuation of this project is to begin to create awareness in the business community of the problems that these machines create, and of the other viable options that they have at their disposal. This will dovetail nicely with our ongoing work of raising the awareness of the local citizenry and encouraging them to spend their time and money on more healthy activities.
KCAGoG does not have expertise “in-house” to make this case to the business community, so we are partnering with the Acadia Centre for Social and Business Entrepreneurship (ACSBE), who have many years of experience advising local business. ACSBE’s role will be to develop and present a one-half day workshop for interested persons on possible benefits of transitioning away from VLT revenue. ACSBE will not give specific business advice, or provide any services to business under this project, but businesses will of course be free to contract with ACSBE later for consultation specific to their needs should they so desire. This gives a practical way forward for those inspired by the workshop. In this way we see ourselves as allies to business rather than adversaries, as some groups have been perceived to be in the past.
The combination of KCAGoG’s ongoing work in the wider community and ACSBE’s focus on raising awareness in the business community will create a strong foundation to move Kings County towards readiness to change our approach to VLTs. We can then move towards a healthier community by slowly reducing the number of machines in our community as individuals choose to put their money elsewhere, and businesses choose more creative and healthy business plans.