National Hate Crime Awareness will soon be upon us on 8-15th October. A natural priority for ourselves at GATE is to increase awareness of Gypsy and Traveller hate crime which we sadly know so many members and others in the community have suffered. We are therefore delighted that the Traveller Movement has launched a national campaign #OperationReportHate to highlight crimes faced by Gypsies, Travellers and Roma, which we are gladly supporting locally.
Our ‘ask’ is simple: we and our partners at the Traveller Movement have produced posters (which can be downloaded here) and are asking public figures to share a photo on social media of themselves holding it. Please use the hashtag #OperationReportHate and tag the campaign using @GypsyTravellerM. Whether police officer, Council Officer, teacher or indeed any other profession, we would appreciate your support and hope you can take the time to help us raise awareness.
Some good news, I think. I just left a recent conference about Traveller site policy feeling relatively positive. This is not because the national policy has improved; it hasn’t. In the past year I and many others have talked about how recent DCLG changes to Traveller site laws will only make a bad situation worse. That is still the case. The good news though is that some Local Authorities are taking pragmatic approaches. These efforts require encouragement and support.
Firstly, engaging with the debate is a positive first sign. That over thirty Local Authorities were represented at this briefing session suggested there to be an appetite, at least from some within their Council, to seek out help and input on Traveller Site need. Moreover, the questions asked from many, both during the main session and during the breaks, suggested a genuine desire to respond sensibly to the recent planning changes.
There are lots of different ways to make a copy of something. You can just make it look the same on the outside; or (and this is often a bit more interesting) you can try to get a bit closer to the heart of it, and copy the process and the meaning.
For Heritage Open Day this year, I and GATE members and volunteers made an art installation, Not Be Moved, based around recreating the placards that were used in a historic anti-eviction protest in 1999/2000, shown together with audio interviews and other material about the case. We did this because the protest was such an important part of the history of Travellers' rights and we wanted to highlight it; and also as a way of creatively exploring the photos of it that we have in our Archives. Read on to find out how we approached it and what we learnt.
This year we will again be hosting open days as a part of the heritage open day series. The last few years have been a great success and we have enjoyed welcoming members, friends, visitors and local communitites into our building. Our members and all communities will be helping us to celebrate and explore Gypsy and Traveller heritage.
Activities on the day will include:
Traditional Gypsy and Traveller craft workshops and demonstrations
It is widely recognised that numeracy and literacy skills can act as a barrier when accessing services and the fear of form filling and electronic sign in sheets if enough to keep people away. West CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) are supporting GATE in bridging the gap between Gypsies and Travellers and Health Services.