Leeds GATE

Working to improve the quality of life for Gypsies and Travellers

0113 240 2444

Crown Point House,
167-169 Cross Green Lane,
Leeds LS9 0BD

Universal Credit – Yes, it’s still happening

Ben Chastney's picture
By Ben Chastney |  November 23, 2016 |

It seems like years ago we were awaiting the imminent introduction of Universal Credit and stressing concerns about what that might all mean for Gypsies and Travellers. Turns out it was years ago. Due to delay after delay, some areas, like Leeds, are only recently finally seeing this rolled out. Even now it is only for ‘simple claims’ so many families still won’t be affected for a long time. Evidence is piling up of ongoing problems and decisions are still being made about how Universal Credit will finally look so we need to keep talking about it.

Our new conversation about Gypsy and Traveller encampments is picking up speed!

Helen Jones's picture
By Helen Jones |  November 20, 2016 |

A review of newspaper headlines over several decades indicates strong public interest in Gypsy and Traveller encampments, but very little variation, if any, in the public narratives on the issue.  Every single year for decades there has been at least one parliamentary debate and a plethora of written parliamentary questions.  All saying exactly the same things!

Perhaps this lack of progress is not really surprising.  After all, the whole point about camps is that they are transitory.  The camp moves, everyone calms down and some other local issue takes centre stage.  We usually see a little flurry at election time but apart from that no single residents group, or MP or ward councillor maintains their interest for long.

But change can happen, we have seen that in Leeds alone where the cost savings from our new ‘negotiated stopping’ approach have been really significant, especially at a time when surely every authority would rather be keeping care homes or libraries open than throwing cash at a never ending merry-go-around.

Molly's Adventures with Travellers - Learning Lessons?

Ben Chastney's picture
By Ben Chastney |  November 17, 2016 |

About a year ago I released the last of a set of short illustrated stories.  These featured a precocious girl, Molly, and her observations of how Gypsies and Travellers are treated in various situations.  Her naïve but challenging questions hopefully brought out some of the hypocrisy and short-sightedness of racist attitudes and practices.  I thought a year later it was worth looking at them again and asking what would happen if nothing was learnt. 

Hertfordshire Gypsy and Traveller Empowerment launches independent website for victims of racial abuse

Helen Jones's picture
By Helen Jones |  November 17, 2016 |
Our Colleagues at Hertfordshire Gypsy and Traveller Empowerment have launched an important new website.  This article first appeared on the Travellers Times website.
Report Racism GRT will be used to collect data on where, when and the type of hate used against GRT members to help combat racism. The initiative can also provide support to Gypsy, Traveller and Roma victims of racism.

You can access Report Racism GRT by clicking HERE.

Who wants to go to a meeting?

Ben Chastney's picture
By Ben Chastney |  November 3, 2016 |

Sometimes we have to arrange or go to meetings.  It can be the only obvious way of discussing issue A or finding solution B.  Very often this is not the case though and so many agencies, GATE included, might be guilty in having meetings where something different would work best for all.

 

There are two things worth challenging; language and format.  Too often meetings are set up in a way which is not welcoming or inclusive.  Plenty of our members, and I am sure this is the case for many excluded people, may automatically be put off by the idea of formal discussions which instinctively feel anything but equal.  Where the meeting happens matters.  As does who leads the discussion.  And when this happens.  And who picks the topics of discussion.  These key elements are got wrong so often.

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