Leeds GATE

Working to improve the quality of life for Gypsies and Travellers

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Leeds GATE news

Roads, Bridges and Tunnels - what we've learnt through ABCD

Ellie Rogers's picture
By Ellie Rogers |  February 17, 2017 |

This is a long overdue blog to share some of our thinking about Roads, Bridges and Tunnels which we have developed through a process of asset mapping with our members. 

Previous article: "How important is trust between Gypsies, Travellers and Roma people and health services?"

Next article: "An unpalatable truth? “People don’t want Traveller Sites”"

An unpalatable truth? “People don’t want Traveller Sites”

Ben Chastney's picture
By Ben Chastney |  January 27, 2017 |

That statement “people don’t want Traveller Sites” seems to get thrown around far too often.  It is reductive, includes questionable assumptions and misdirects us from addressing Gypsy and Traveller accommodation needs sensibly.  I heard it again when on local news the other week, reminding me that I think this phrase, or version of, it was posed almost every time I have engaged with the media.  That is telling and demonstrates why and where the debate is consistently going wrong.

Next article: "Crisis in Commissioning, or, “Why are you throwing our money down the toilet?”"

Crisis in Commissioning, or, “Why are you throwing our money down the toilet?”

Helen Jones's picture
By Helen Jones |  January 26, 2017 |

Lloyds Bank Foundation recently published an important national report on the impact of so called ‘commissioning’ on small and medium sized civil society organisations.  I can’t say I read the report with any great surprise because it confirmed what experience tells us here at Leeds GATE.  Commissioning is a mess.  Not only is it a mess but it is actually threatening the survival of many of the small local organisations who provide help when vulnerable and struggling people need it most.  Available funding is being scooped away from local providers and into the coffers of the largest charities and those with large enough budgets to have staff dedicated to tendering for contracts.

We fed into the LBF research with a case study of how local public health had commissioned for cancer awareness raising among key vulnerable groups.  Our members were named as target groups for the work.  Public Health had funded our organisation to develop local relationships with our members, developing effective techniques for engagement, and learning directly about what works in sharing health messages, via ongoing contracts for over a decade. We are a PQASSO accredited organisation with a track record of submitting accurate financial information and regular detailed contract reports to the authority. We have no wish to be a gate-keeper, or to ‘do all the work ourselves’.  But you might think that these existing relationships would be exactly what a commissioner would be looking for in seeking an effective way to use a small amount of money?

Honestly, although it took days of work to complete the tender documents, we pretty much thought it must surely have our name on it.  Of course the commissioners would recognise that such sensitive work which highly vulnerable communities would be best done on the basis of existing relationships of trust and personal awareness that they themselves had been supporting for years?

Previous article: "An unpalatable truth? “People don’t want Traveller Sites”"

Next article: "Obituary - Peter Mercer MBE"

Obituary - Peter Mercer MBE

Helen Jones's picture
By Helen Jones |  January 23, 2017 |

We're really sad to hear of the recent death of Peter Mercer MBE.  Peter was a great role model and colleague, always encouraging and keen to share his knowledge.  Here are obituaries from Arthur Ivatts OBE and Siobhan Spencer MBE, first published on the National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups website.  Rest in Peace Peter.

Next article: "Change-making! More from our conversations about camps"

Change-making! More from our conversations about camps

Helen Jones's picture
By Helen Jones |  December 13, 2016 |

The way forward in community cohesion around encampments is really about bringing people together and letting them talk the issues out.  The answers to our difficulties are there amongst us, we need to give ourselves permission to go for it!

What is really encouraging is the growing number of examples of pragmatic solutions being used to manage encampment without continual recourse to legal procedures to evict. Here's our newest report and film.

Next article: "Leeds GATE CEO thinks we need to talk about 'antigypsyism'"

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