Over the past 18 months, here at Friends, Families and Travellers, we have continued to support all Gypsy and Traveller people, regardless of background or ethnicity, pushing to get a fair deal and protect the nomadic way of life.
We know that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities are known to face some of the poorest life outcomes, across multiple indicators, among the UK population.
At the height of the pandemic, other issues such as lack of access to water and sanitation, evictions and lack of information around self-isolation for community members arose in a more public way than ever before.
The pandemic has exacerbated these issues and highlighted the significant difficulties that Gypsies and Travellers face on a daily basis.
While still supporting Gypsies and Travellers with issues that have stemmed from the pandemic, our attention must now also turn to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which threatens the nomadic way of life and the foundations of Gypsies’ and Travellers’ existence as a whole.
With the national chronic shortage of sites, it is a scary prospect that the criminalisation of trespass looms ever closer and it is more important than ever that we work together to protect and support Gypsy and Traveller communities.
Friends, Families and Travellers are continuously working with various organisations, including local government, and providing support to help engage and work with local Gypsy and Traveller communities.
One thing local government has found really helpful is our training: in the past year, more than 850 individuals completed our cultural awareness training to help provide more inclusive services for Gypsy and Traveller communities.
Our recent course, delivered to councillors, has positively impacted the provision of transit and sites in certain areas.
Small practical changes such as this have a big impact on individuals and communities, and are the first step to countering the vast inequalities faced by Gypsies and Travellers across the country.