New strategy aims to improve lives of Gypsies and Travellers

A new ‘national strategy’ to tackle inequality and improve the lives of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities has been launched by the government.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is to lead the national strategy, working with several government departments and the Cabinet Office Race Disparity Unit to improve outcomes in areas including health, education and employment.

MHCLG has provided £200,000 of funding between six projects aiming to improve outcomes for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in the areas of educational attainment, health and social integration.

The department has also funded 22 projects which support Roma communities across England through the Controlling Migration Fund.

In addition, the department has provided funding to 2 projects to improve the reporting of hate crime by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

Helen Jones, CEO of Leeds-based Gypsy and Traveller charity, Leeds Gate, told NewStart that the announcement amounts to a ‘very small amount of funding which will hardly touch the sides.’

‘We need to see significant structural change and while funding for projects is always going to be welcome there is a great deal more, within government especially, which needs to change’ she added.

‘We have worked as part of the government’s liaison group for many years and have felt frustrated by the failure to effect any sort of sustainable improvement, what will be different in this new approach remains to be seen.’

Communities Minister Lord Bourne said: ‘We recognise that members of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities continue to face some of the steepest challenges in society.

‘Despite ongoing government work in this area, it’s clear that more needs to be done.’

It’s estimated there are 300,000 Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people in the UK. June is Gypsy Roma and Traveller History Month which aims to celebrate theior contributions to society, and to offset negative stereotyping and prejudices.


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