On 5th July 2016 we launched our Planning for the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers in London report which highlights our experiences in working on planning policy issues over the last 4 years. The report presents the challenges facing Gypsy and Traveller site provision in London and gives examples of best practice as well as recommendations for policy makers at local, London-wide and national level.
The launch of the report was part of a seminar hosted at Resource for London, attended by local authority planning officers and councillors, members of the Gypsy and Traveller community and support organisations, academics and other professionals. The seminar was chaired by Stephen Cottle, barrister at Garden Court Chambers and LGTU trustee. Our invited speakers were Richard Lee – Just Space, Rosemary Lloyd and Mike Young – Equality and Human Rights Commission and Ben Chastney – Leeds GATE.
The second part of the event focused on discussing the impacts of new planning policy and legislation changes on the Gypsy and Traveller community and a call for leadership from the Mayor of London on taking forward a number of inclusive policy recommendations. A full report of the conference will be published soon.
LGTU Open Day on Saturday 18th June, in celebration of Gypsy Roma Traveller History month, saw people from all walks of life dropping into our offices to find out what we do.
We showcased displays and posters describing our work on: campaigning for culturally appropriate homes; creating pathways into training and employment; providing a supportive environment for young Travellers to believe in themselves and make informed choices and on strengthening the voices of London’s Gypsy and Travellers to gain recognition, inclusion and equality.
Fun workshops were also the order of the day in floristry, cup cake decoration and drumming!
Meeting in Lincolns Inn Fields on Sunday 13th March, thousands of people from all walks of life met to protest together against the destructive Housing and Planning Bill. A large number of Gypsy and Travellers, alongside many other groups, marched to the Houses of Parliament. It was a really energetic and positive day. Gypsy and Travellers sung their hearts out as the demo snaked its way through the streets of London. The demand - more Traveller sites to be built, more respect and better equal rights!
Some Travellers were old time activists and some had never been on a protest before. Our proudest moment was when activist Lisa Buttigieg gave a speech about the future of Gypsy and Traveller rights outside the Houses of Parliament to hundreds of people. Gypsy and Travellers made their mark and across the crowds the cries ’We STILL Count’ could be heard.
The Housing and Planning Bill would remove the obligation to do needs assessment’s for Gypsy and Travellers meaning their accommodation needs would be very difficult to account for. The knock on affect would be the lack of enforcement of the present legal requirement to build sufficient Traveller sites for the Gypsy and Traveller population.
The Bill would also: end Life Long Tenancies; instruct councils to sell prime and high value housing and introduce a Right To Stay system which would see households earning collectively more than £40k in London and £30k out of London being made to pay market rate rent. The effect will be to massively reduce access to social housing; to increase waiting lists and promote community disintegration due to people being housed far away from their local community.
Based in Hackney, we are a vibrant, effective and efficient charity with a mission to support, empower and represent Gypsies and Travellers on all levels. We address the social exclusion of London's Gypsy and Traveller communities and challenge the discrimination they routinely experience by supporting Gypsies and Travellers living on sites and in houses, to have greater control over their lives, to increase their capacity to influence decisions that affect them and widen their opportunities. In partnership with the Traveller community, and in working with a range of trusted partners, we use our grass-roots knowledge and experience to contribute to the development of local, regional and national policy. Originally a project with Save the Children from 1981, we became a charity in our own right in 1998.
Our activities cover four broad themes
- Homes - We deliver a twice weekly accommodation advice service and campaign for culturally suitable homes through our community development and planning and policy work.
- Work - We create pathways into training, employment and support traditional trades through the delivery of our training programmes. This includes IT, literacy and practical skills for adults and vocational training for young people.
- Young Voices - Through our well established youth programme for young Travellers in north east London, we strive to create a safe place where young people believe in themselves and make informed choices
- Equality - We strengthen the voice of London's Gypsies and Travellers through our activist training and leadership programme in order to equip community representatives with the skills and confidence to represent their community, increase their understanding of policies and legislation, challenge discrimination and gain recognition. Learning to engage with mainstream media is key to challenging the negative stereotyping.
Our latest Annual Report 2015 describes another successful year for the London Gypsy and Traveller Unit where we continued to support, empower and represent Gypsies and Travellers at all levels.
Previous Annual Reports
Many thanks to our Current Funders
BBC Children in Need
Canary Wharf Group
Garden Court Chambers
The Worshipful Company of Grocers
Hackney Learning Trust (LB Hackney)
Irish Government Emigrant Support Programme
LB Tower Hamlets
Cabinet Office's Local Sustainability Fund
The Goldsmith's Company
The Henry Smith Charity
The Mercer’s Company
Trust House Charitable Trust
Trust for London
Wakefield Tetley Trust