Today, Thursday 16th December, Friends, Families and Travellers release a new report which sheds light on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller civil society within the larger voluntary sector. The report, which can be found here, shows that there are significant gaps in provision of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller specific support around the country.
The research found that over a quarter of organisations identified as being part of or partially involved with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller civil society micro-sector have ceased to exist since 2005. The organisations which are still providing services are situated in just a small number of geographical areas, leaving ‘deserts’ with no provision.
Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people are known to experience the worst life outcomes of any ethnic minority groups in the UK across health, education and accommodation, yet are often overlooked by the agencies responsible for ensuring service provision and poorly served by mainstream voluntary organisations.
Gypsy, Roma and Traveller voluntary sector organisations often service to fill the gap where mainstream and statutory services fail: bridging the gaps in access to services, challenging discrimination and developing and sharing good practice models for engagement.
The Gypsy, Roma and Traveller civil society sector comprises of just 0.03% of the voluntary sector with a turnover of £6.7 million. With 27% of charities, organisations and voluntary groups having ceased to exist since 2005, it is clear that further provision of support from funders is needed to help it survive, and most importantly help Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people across the UK tackle inequalities on a wider scale. Infrastructure support for the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller civil society sector is critical against the backdrop of inequalities which have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking about the report, Angela Barnett, Lead Caseworker at Friends, Families and Travellers said:
“As part of the National Casework team we do our best to support people at a distance due to the vast swathes of the country where there is no Traveller specific support. Lots of statutory services are not easy to access, especially for those with no literacy. Where service providers are limited in understanding of the cultural needs or challenges faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people, access to basic services such as healthcare, education, financial or legal support can be a needless battle.”
About Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT)
Friends, Families and Travellers is a leading national charity that works to end racism and discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people and to protect the right to pursue a nomadic way of life.
Tel: 07425 419853 Email: [email protected]
Bridges and deserts: Creating a solid foundation for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller civil society. Read here.