On Thursday 20th June, the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) announced that Friends, Families and Travellers are in the shortlist for the ‘Community Health Development Award’ at the Health and Wellbeing Awards 2019. The award ceremony, which will be held in October, recognises and celebrates activities and strategies that successfully empower communities and individuals to improve their own health and the health of others.
In light of the stark health inequalities faced by Gypsy and Traveller communities, with commissioning from East Sussex County Council, FFT developed an asset-based peer-approach model of health improvement. By building relationships through assertive outreach, delivering RSPH training and supporting the development of a ‘Health Champions’ network, the programme enabled people to actively participate in improving their own and their community’s health.
The RSPH training, is a culturally tailored course on health improvement and developing healthy habits for Gypsies and Travellers. To date, over 70 Gypsies and Travellers have completed the training with FFT. Speaking about the RSPH programme, Linda Smith* from the Romany Gypsy community shared,
“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!”
Earlier in the year, we held a graduation ceremony for the people who successfully completed the RSPH training. Dominique Corbett, who is a health champion and completed the ‘Train the Trainer’ programme said,
“I worked with FFT when the RSPH programme started, we first reached out to support young people with low literacy on the course. Since then, I’ve taken the RSPH qualification myself and completed the ‘Train the Trainer’ programme. Now I’m a ‘Health Coach’ in Sussex, and my job is to support others with their health and well being.”
After hearing the news FFT had made it to the shortlist, Michelle Gavin, Outreach and Projects Worker at Friends, Families and Travellers said,
“We are over the moon to hear that we’ve reached the shortlist for this award and to see our name among so many other extraordinary organisations. The mixed approach to health promotion has made a real difference to people’s lives. We are so proud of everyone who has taken part.”
*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.
Lucy Hetherington, Communications Officer
Tel: 01273 234 038 Email: [email protected]