Leeds GATE

Working to improve the quality of life for Gypsies and Travellers

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Leeds GATE news

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'"

Time for Blue-skies thinking - camping in Shangri-la

Ben Chastney's picture
By Ben Chastney |  November 29, 2016 |

Since we held a national conference about unauthorised encampments earlier this year, there has been some evidence of local good practice but this is still quite rare.  Tired approaches and obstacles to change continue in many places.  However, last Friday Leeds GATE held a very positive national advisory group discussion to launch our Esmee Fairbairn funded Negotiating Stopping project which aims to change the narrative and response to unauthorised encampments.  Our aim was to bring a new group of ‘stake-holders’ – those involved in or affected by encampment- together to try and push things forward.

Next article: "Universal Credit – Yes, it’s still happening"

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.

Next article: "Our new conversation about Gypsy and Traveller encampments is picking up speed!"

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.

Next article: "Molly's Adventures with Travellers - Learning Lessons?"

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