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.
Our short animated film describing the steps to take to becoming self-employed, which was commissioned by and for the Gypsy and Traveller Community, is receiving a lot of welcomed positive feedback. Click on the picture to the right or go to our YouTube channel to view it. We are planning to produce two more films in this series; so watch this space!
The main aim of the London Gypsy and Traveller Unit is to support Travellers and Gypsies living in London to:
- Influence decisions affecting their lives.
- Improve their quality of life and the opportunities available to them.
- Challenge the discrimination they routinely experience.
We do this by carrying out the following programmes
- Community development on sites, particularly in relation to site provision and site management; campaigning for new sites in London by supporting housed and sited Travellers to work together, and challenge London boroughs, the GLA and the national government to respond to the identified need to increase Traveller site provision.
- Youth work programme for young Irish Travellers in North and East London. In Hackney and Haringey 4 weekly youth groups for Traveller boys and girls to increase opportunities and self confidence. Pre-vocational training for 16-19 year olds. Yearly 2 week summer programme.
- Advocacy and advice service to Gypsies and Travellers living on sites and houses in London, on accommodation, benefits and access to services.
- Learning support for Travellers in literacy, IT, employability skills and self-employment advice.
- Work with the media and Gypsies and Travellers, to challenge negative coverage and towards ensuring a fair presentation of their views.
- Strategic and policy work in partnership with agencies and Travellers on local, regional and national policies.
- Advice and information to agencies, professionals, community groups, the media and students.
- Work in partnership with Travellers and other agencies on various Borough forums and co-ordinate the London Gypsy and Traveller Forum.
- Research on a commissioned basis and routinely respond to requests by other researchers to facilitate consultation with the community.
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