Having a resident’s group can put you in a stronger position to negotiate with your landlord, improve your site and get services to visit your site.
Here are some resources and information about Gypsy and Traveller Residents’ groups including:
- Notes and presentations from a Residents’ Groups Seminar
- A Research Paper which draws on the experiences of all sorts of Gypsy & Traveller residents groups.
- A toolkit to help you set up and run a Residents group for your site.
In February 2012, FFT hosted a seminar on Gypsy and Traveller Site Residents’ Groups.
45 people from Travellers’ sites and support agencies saw presentations about setting up and running residents groups on their sites and enjoyed lively discussions after each presentation. Feedback from those who came was good. Hearing and talking with Travellers was the thing most valued, along with the information on legal points, policy and the likely catalyst needed to start a group. Attendees were keen to get more Gypsies and Travellers involved.
You can see the presentations and some of the discussion points below:
Site Residents and Support Workers gave us a real insight into how the Stable Way Residents’ Association has developed.
- The large size of the Stable Way (100 people) and being in the Westway Development Trust area around it were helpful to the Association’s success as agencies took the site more seriously and the Development Trust provided access to funding.
- Running a raffle at meetings helped to get people to come
- Phil Regan (support worker) emphasised the importance of
– being able to get legal advice, advocacy and support
– a community development approach
– Local Authority support and officer involvement
– Traveller participation and mentoring
Eleanor Street Residents’ Group
Marion Mahoney gave us very practical advice about what they learned setting up and using the power of their Residents Group after their site was threatened with demolition by Cross-Rail. Discussions points:
- Taking the power back is important – organising meetings at a place they choose
- Gaining experience on being a representative when not all the site is behind me. Learning when to step back when tempers are high.
- Representation with all the family groups – staying in touch with them all
- Not all will join in – some will have a stake in keeping it chaotic and a Resident’s Group’s strength will threaten this.
- Don’t’ have a meeting when “trouble is going on”.
Jane Eyles from TPAS was not able to attend but we have included her useful presentation.
Sarah Mann from FFT reported on FFTs recent support for residents at 3 sites, coming out of casework with individual residents.
- How important it was to build some small successes quickly as Residents were easily discouraged at first.
- Outside support was very helpful as the Local Authority site managers were more willing to listen to another agency to start with.
- Small and rural sites had less support around them to draw on and might not have as much leverage with statutory agencies.
List of Resources
- Hearing the voice of Gypsies and Travellers: the history, development and challenges of Gypsy and Traveller tenants and residents’ associations. Andrew Ryder. September 2012
- How to set up and run a residents’ group, FFT 2010
This guide is designed to help Gypsy Travellers come together to form Resident or Community groups. The toolkit is designed so that you can read those pages relevant to you rather than the whole document.
– What are Residents groups and why are they useful?
– Government Policies
– Recognised resident’s associations
– Setting up a group
– Running a group
– How to apply for funding
– How to handle finances/ bookkeeping
– Guide to setting up a community website and email
Documents and Policies:
– Code of Conduct
– Equal Opportunities
– Child Protection
– Volunteer Policy
– Complaints procedure