Six pilot projects announced to support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities will benefit from a new fund to improve their health, education and integration, Communities Minister Lord Bourne said today.

Six pilot projects will each receive a share of £170,000 of new funding, and will be run by or in partnership with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

Successful projects include a Liverpool-based schools programme to improve access to education among Roma young people and a project to boost public health knowledge and improve health wellbeing amongst Gypsy and Traveller communities in West Sussex and Surrey.

The recent Race Disparity Audit showed that pupils of a Gypsy, Roma and Traveller ethnic background perform consistently less well at school and those over 65 have poorer health than many other groups.

Communities Minister Lord Bourne said: “We know that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller groups are some of the most vulnerable in our society and the Race Disparity Audit revealed some difficult truths.

“That’s why we are taking action to support these communities. This new programme will be an important first step towards a more community-based approach that will address some of the inequalities the communities face – whether by improving educational attainment or encouraging healthier lifestyles.”

The successful projects confirmed today include:

Granby Toxteth Trust – Roma Education Aspiration Project (REAP)

This project proposes to raise the educational and career aspirations of Roma young people. Working in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University, the project will develop a programme for students in school years 10 to 13, and their families, focusing on continuing education and exploring career options.

The project will also work with local schools to challenge any low expectations they may have around the education of Roma students. By challenging stereotypes and breaking down barriers on all sides, schools, further and higher education institutions and employers will develop new tools for engagement with the Roma community.

Friends, Families and Travellers – Health accreditations for the community

This project will deliver accredited training in public health qualifications to Gypsies and Travellers in West Sussex and Surrey and a pilot RSPH Young Health Champions qualification to a group of Irish Traveller youth in Brighton.

The project will improve educational attainment, increase the community’s health knowledge, skills, and raise their health and wellbeing. It will also increase participants’ confidence and their sense of control over their lives.

Roma Luton Trust – English for Life

This project will create a Roma Community Centre in the heart of Luton where, alongside their daily interventions, they will run a bespoke programme of English language teaching.  Roma people will be provided with the chance to learn English with teachers who speak their languages and understand their culture.

The Thornbury Centre – LACO My Life

This project will educate and up-skill Central and Eastern European Roma families to enable them to keep their children safe from grooming and sexual exploitation.

The Dukes – Peer-led educational programme

Here we will see the development of a sustainable peer-led educational programme led by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller young people and parents. They will train Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community influencers in facilitation, and develop an accredited (Arts Award) peer-led training programme.

National Prison Radio – On the Road

This initiative will produce a new radio series for Gypsy and Traveller prisoners, to support them in successfully reintegrating into society after their release.

In March this year the Governments’ Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper set out a range of actions to take to bring divided communities together, including boosting English language skills and increasing economic opportunity, particularly for women.

The Government will work with five areas to develop local integration plans – Blackburn with Darwen, Bradford, Peterborough, Walsall and Waltham Forest.

Picture (c) Ian Nicholson / PA Wire.