Community Dialogues on Gambling (2009-2012)
Our organization goes back to a series of community conversations and presentations that took place between 2009 and 2012. These conversations were called the “Community Dialogues on Gambling,” and the goal was to create awareness of gambling harms and seek local solutions to the issue. The Dialogues were started by Audrey Shields (then a clinician with Annapolis Valley Health) and Heather Frenette (editor of A Mental Health Perspective). Our group hosted several “town hall” style meetings in both Kings and Annapolis Counties to discuss the issue of gambling harms; and gave a presentation to the Annapolis County Municipal Town Council.
KCAGoG becomes an official organization (2011)
Our group wanted to continue the work we had done during these early talks with our community. On March 26th, 2011, the Kings Community Action Group on Gambling became an official not-for-profit organization. We became the only community organization in Nova Scotia who worked to bring the issue of gambling harms to community members and to help them generate their own solutions.
Work as KCAGoG
KCAGoG worked on a number of projects and partnered with other community groups in Kings County. For example…
- 2012 – 2013: we organized a promotional campaign called “Kings County VLT Free Zones” to advocate for community members to support businesses that did not use gambling revenues in their operational budgets.
- 2013 – 2014: we worked on a project called “Revenues at Risk” in partnership with Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre. Together we created a half-day workshop educating local business owners on how to maintain profits while removing gambling revenues from their establishments.
- 2014 – 2015: We worked on our “Community Readiness Project.” This involved working with stakeholders in five communities across Kings County to assess each area’s readiness to address the community harms of gambling. We then assisted community members in creating strategies to address gambling harm that were tailored to each area’s readiness.
- 2016: We went through a detailed strategic planning process to refocus our work. A highlight was the Strategic Planning Day workshop using the Appreciative Inquiry process. We invited others to join us and participants included the provincial Minister of Health and a local business consultant.
- 2017: We ran a meeting of different community agencies from around Kings County called “Better Together.” We discussed how our work related to each others’, and how we might work together to strengthen our community in the future.
- 2017 – 2018: A significant grant from Gambling Awareness Nova Scotia provided our main focus for 2017. The project used creative arts to raise community awareness of gambling issues. We collaborated with local creative artists, including Ross Creek Centre for the Arts to create an interactive theater workshop “Our Town: Reducing Gambling Harms,” as well as Creative Action video productions to produce playful videos about gambling featuring “Gertie the Gamboling Goat.”
Name changed to Gambling Risk-Informed Nova Scotia (2018)
In 2018, KCAGoG was renamed Gambling Risk-Informed Nova Scotia (GRINS). The name of our organization was changed to better describe our purpose. That is, we sought to be an example for other organizations in communities around Nova Scotia, and also, to equip people with the knowledge to make positive choices about how gambling is present in their communities.
Work as GRINS
Continuing the work of KCAGoG, GRINS has engaged in a number of projects in recent years. These projects include:
- 2019: From the months of January to May a student intern from Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) worked with us to improve the script for “Our Town: Reducing Gambling Harms.” During this time, we ran the workshop with students from NSCC on several occasions, and received their feedback on how the workshop could be made better.
- 2020: GRINS was joined by another student intern from NSCC. Together, we made major revisions to the “Our Town: Reducing Gambling Harms” script. GRINS planned to run the revised “Our Town: Reducing Gambling Harms” workshop on March 20th at the Royal Canadian Legion (Wolfville Branch). The purpose of the event was also to recognize the Legion’s removal of VLT’s from their hall by presenting them with our Award for Creating Safer Communities. The event was canceled, however, due to social distancing requirements during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
See the What We Do page for information about our recent activities.