Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month Event - London Gypsy and Traveller Unit
The London Gypsy and Traveller Unit (LGTU) works to increase the opportunities open to the Traveller community and to enable children, young people and their families to exercise greater control over their lives by providing support and advocacy services for Traveller families living in Hackney, Haringey, Newham and adjacent boroughs; and by influencing policy and practice at borough, regional and national level. The Gypsy and Traveller community is one of the most marginalised groups in society and, according to a recent Children’s Society report, ‘9 out of 10 children and young people from a Gypsy background have suffered racial abuse and nearly two thirds have also been bullied or physically attacked.
As part of the Gypsy and Roma Traveller History Month in June 2008, the LGTU delivered a showcase of talent event led and delivered by 50 young people aged 5 to 16 years from the Irish Travelling Community. The event aimed to empower and acknowledge the achievements of young people from this vulnerable community, and raise awareness of the rich, cultural contribution that this community makes. Young people were involved in the planning, organising and auditioning for the event. The showcase included singing and dancing performances, poetry readings, film screenings and an art and photography exhibition, by young Travellers from the boroughs.
The event was attended by over 150 people from the community, including representatives from local authorities. The young people were proud at being centre stage for the right reasons and were overwhelmed at the amount of people that turned up to watch their performance. Some of them received awards from the Jack Petchey Foundation for outstanding achievements and overcoming barriers to learning, certificates from the Metropolitan Youth Strategy group, and AQA and ASDEN accreditation certificates.
An exhibition of the young people’s work was displayed in local libraries across Hackney, Haringey and Tower Hamlets. The young people went along with their families to see the exhibitions and were very proud to see all their work up for everyone to see. Several new stories on the project were published in local media, portraying positive images of young people as well as the Gypsy and Traveller community. The young people are a lot more confident now.
For more information contact:
Lorraine Sweeney, Youth Co-ordinator, London Gypsy and Traveller Unit