Making a real difference with Gypsies & Travellers in a climate of anti-Gypsyism

The Romani Cultural & Arts Company is pleased to announce that it has received a Big Lottery grant of £99,680 for a two-year project to support elderly Gypsies and Travellers across South-East Wales. 

All our funds are directed into projects that are community led. By Gypsies & Travellers, with Gypsies & Travellers, for Gypsies & Travellers!  This funding will now be used to target support to the elders of the local Gypsy & Traveller sites by providing Community Champions. These essential posts will organise regular social events and meetings for the elders of the Gypsy & Traveller community and improve community access.  

As a GTR led organisation we are at the heart of the community – we understand the issues and concerns that these community has and we have a strong understanding of the culture and traditions through being immersed in them from babyhood rather than from theoretical learning. 

We are trusted by the community. Many of the older adults feel a sense of shame and lack self-esteem because of their low levels of educational attainment and are therefore unwilling to speak to ‘outsiders’ – even those in agencies meant to support them. We are part of the targeted community. 100% of our staff and volunteers are Gypsy or Irish Traveller and 75% of our staff live on sites within the South East region.

This is a ground-breaking initiative that will enable the elders of this vulnerable, marginalised community to stand up, be heard and to grow in confidence so that they can better engage with agencies and public services. 

We are very proud of the service we provide to the local Gypsy & Traveller community and we know that many people will benefit from this additional capacity.  Laurel Price, an elder site resident from Rover Way in Cardiff said: ‘Nothing happens on site. We are abandoned and I think its great to have someone looking out for us.’

Isaac Blake; Director of The Romani Cultural & Arts Company said: ‘As a Gypsy who has lived on local authority sites, there is nothing available for the elders. They can feel very isolated. This project will go a long way to dealing with this and I am proud of it.’

Rona Aldrich, Wales Committee Member for the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Programmes like People and Places are making a difference to the lives of so many people in communities across Wales. It delivers on our promise to use National Lottery funding to regenerate and revitalise communities, tackle disadvantage head on and leave a lasting legacy.”

Press coverage notably from (Travellers Times)