On Thursday 17th October, the winners of the illustrious Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) Health and Wellbeing Awards were announced in a glamorous event at the East Wintergarden in London. Brighton based charity Friends Families and Travellers (FFT) were in attendance and were announced as runners up in the ‘Community Health Development’ Award category for their health improvement work with Gypsy and Traveller communities in East and West Sussex.
FFT’s ‘Traveller Health Improvement’ project which was shortlisted for the Community Health Development Award was commissioned by East Sussex County Council and is now being rolled out in test bed sites across the country with funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
In light of the stark health inequalities faced by Gypsy and Traveller communities, FFT developed an asset-based peer-approach model of health improvement, which taps into existing peer networks in Gypsy and Traveller communities to cascade health information.
By building relationships through assertive outreach, delivering RSPH training and supporting the development of a ‘Health Champions’ network, the project enabled people to actively participate in improving their own and their community’s health. To date, over 70 Gypsies and Travellers have completed RSPH training with Friends Families and Travellers. Speaking about the programme, Linda Smith* from the Romany Gypsy community said,
“I didn’t really go to school, I hated it. The kids were horrible to me, they called me ‘dirty’, so I didn’t go. I never had a proper education. But this training was good, cos they understand our people and how we are. I couldn’t believe I passed the exam, my first exam, at 50!”
On becoming Finalists as the Health and Wellbeing Awards 2019, Sarah Mann, Director at Friends, Families and Travellers said,
“We’re pleased to be finalists amongst a pool of highly deserving organisations and individuals. Throughout this process we’ve enjoyed learning about all the innovative and vital work happening across the country, and we’d like to offer our heartfelt congratulations to Basis Yorkshire on their brilliant initiative.”
*this name has been changed to protect anonymity.
Notes for Editor
About Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT)
Friends, Families and Travellers is a leading national charity that works on behalf of all Gypsies, Roma and Travellers regardless of ethnicity, culture or background.
Sarah Sweeney, Policy and Communications Manager
Tel: 01273 234 038 Email: [email protected]