Women’s Aid has become the sponsor of ITV’s lunchtime tv show Loose Women after a gaming company pulled its ads for a betting product.
In a trading update from 23 April, software and gaming company Gamesys Group announced its decision to “temporarily remove” all the branding from its sponsorship of the show, which advertised its betting site Jackpotjoy. Gamesys Group also donated £200,000 to the charity.
Last month, most betting firms voluntarily agreed to stop all their radio and TV advertising amid worries that lockdown could cause a spike in problem gambling.
The Betting and Gaming Council, which represents 90% of operators in the UK, announced on 27 April that all its members would pull their ads until 5 June and either replace them with safer gambling messages, donate the time to charities or simply remove them.
In March, MPs in a cross-party group examining gambling-related harm sent a letter to the organisation expressing their concerns that people would turn to gambling as a distraction during lockdown.
Women’s Aid will use the airtime to raise awareness on domestic abuse during lockdown.
Like most women’s charities it has seen demand for its services increase massively as many women are forced to spend more time in the house with their abusers. At the end of April Women’s Aid doubled the available hours of its live-chat service, after seeing a 41% increase in demand.
Former Spice Girls member Mel B, who is patron of Women’s Aid and has provided the voiceover for the sponsorship slots, said: “I am really proud to say that for the next few weeks Women’s Aid will be featured in the sponsorship slots on Loose Women. As patron of Women’s Aid and as a survivor of an abusive relationship I am even more proud to say you will hear me on those slots letting others out there know Women’s Aid is there for them when they need help and support in desperate times.
“As a charity we are really grateful for the opportunity to raise awareness of domestic abuse during lockdown, where many women are trapped at home with their abusers and need help more than ever. They are waiting to support you.’”