Progress Report 2010

The Romani Cultural and Arts Company Ltd

Aka Romani Arts

Summary of the main achievements of the charity during the year.

The Charity’s first year has been both extremely busy and extremely successful. We have established ourselves as a credible organisation with the communities that we seek to serve and with public agencies that make up our partners.

Cardiff Schools Programme

During the year we developed and delivered an anti-bullying programme that was delivered with 5 groups of children in 3 primary schools across Cardiff. The programme was targeted at mixed race groups of children and designed to allow the children to play with the concept of their own ‘self-identity’ encouraging them in the process to recognise the impact of bullying.

Newport Schools Residency

In Newport we undertook a week long residency with Gwent Education Multi-ethnic Service (GEMS), 5 primary schools and 1 secondary school in the run up to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month (June). The work brought together children from different parts of the city, the gorger community and children from eastern European Roma families. The children put together a performance demonstrating the diversity of Newport’s communities that they later performed at the Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre. More importantly, they spent a week playing with the idea that ‘diversity’ is fun and learning from experience that different people are not so very different after all.

Shirenewton Residency

NoFit State Circus provided a week long residency with the 30 young people (12 – 16 years old) leading to a performance in at the GRT History Month event in Cardiff. The sessions were broken up with exercises and games aimed at improving theatre and performance techniques. The tutors also spent time facilitating ideas from the young people and directing their acquired skills into a show. This type of project aims not only to teach Circus, but to improve many key skills such as concentration, mental and physical co-ordination, communication, team work, creativity, self confidence, risk taking, problem solving and social skills.

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month

The second annual Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month was more successful than we could have hoped. Building on our partnership with the Black Voluntary Sector Network (BVSNW) events were delivered in Cardiff (29th June) and Newport (17th June) with a ‘national’ launch at the Senedd (27th May).

The main features of the month were the promotional poster competitions in led by Traveller education Service in Cardiff schools and GEMS in Newport schools. Both competitions were judged by Helen Mary Jones AM (Chair of the Welsh Assembly’s Children’s and Young People’s Committee).  The winners, runners up and their families were invited to the Senedd to receive their prizes as part of the national launch and the winning entries were used printer as fliers and posters to promote the Newport and Cardiff events.

The Cardiff event at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay was designed to ensure maximum participation from within the communities and included a substantial element of traditional crafts and work by children from within the community including performances put together during the Shirenewton residency.

The Newport event sought to engage policy makers and public agencies as well as community members and included the first ‘Annual GRT History Lecture’ given by Dr Adrian Marsh (himself of Romani heritage) who joined us from Istanbul, as well as a screening of the Children’s BBC documentary on the lives of young people at the Dale Farm site in England. The event also included performances by children from the schools residency and the premier of Lavior (words) by Roma Choreographer Isaac Blake.

We are extremely pleased at reports that some children who would previously have hidden their Gypsy, Roma or Traveller heritage are now declaring that heritage proudly.

The Board believes that the Charity’s first year has set down firm foundations for the future, most notably by establishing a reputation among GRT communities (particularly in Cardiff), through the development of partnerships and the securing of significant funds to take the work forward, for example a grant of nearly £19,000 from BBC Children In Need for work in the next financial year.