Friends Families and Travellers to co-ordinate GRT parliamentary group

9 May 2018
appg grt

Leading charity Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT) appointed as the Secretariat for the cross-party parliament group for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.

We are delighted to announce that we have been appointed as Secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Gypsies, Travellers and Roma… say FFT. The APPG provides a forum for parliamentarians concerned about issues facing Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities and seeks to address these issues and challenge inequalities. The APPG has two very active co-chairs; Kate Green MP for Stretford and Urmston and Baroness Janet Whitaker, as well as around 25 other interested and active members. The APPG has identified a number of issues they are looking to address in the upcoming months, including:

  • Ensuring the impact on Gypsies and Travellers is highlighted in ongoing debates and the consultation on unauthorised encampments,
  • Addressing the findings of the Race Disparity Audit, and
  • Highlighting the implications of Brexit on Roma, Gypsies and Travellers.

As Secretariat, we will support and ensure members of the APPG are briefed in these issues.

Baroness whitaker appg grt
APPG GRT co-Chair Baroness Whitaker cutting the turf to open a new community centre planned by the Gypsy Co-operative/Council © Mike Doherty

During April we have had a phased handover with Secretariat Gill Brown whose work has been key in supporting the APPG to publicise the concerns of GRT communities in parliament. Gill has done so much over the years to support the APPG, much of which has been done on a voluntary basis.

As Secretariat we plan to run three meetings a year with activists from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities to share information about the activities of the APPG and to provide the opportunity for community members to feed into its work. If you are interested in attending one of these meetings please email us at  with your name, organisation (if any), email address, phone number and details of the Gypsy, Roma or Traveller community of which you are a member.

Kate Green MP co-Chair APPG GRT
Kate Green MP co-Chair APPG GRT

Speaking of FFT's appointment as Secretariat, Kate Green MP for Stretford and Urmston said:

“I’m very pleased that FFT is to take over the secretariat role from our highly valued and longstanding officer Gill Brown. FFT have excellent links to GRT organisations and families, and will bring authority, expertise and frontline experience to inform the APPG’s programme. Parliamentarians will be dealing with a number of important issues that affect GRT communities over the coming months, including the Women and Equalities Select Committee inquiry into the inequalities experienced by Gypsies, Roma and Travellers, and the government’s consultation on unauthorised encampments. The APPG is determined to ensure that the community’s voice is heard by parliamentarians, and that MPs and peers have access to high quality evidence and information about their experiences.”

Adding to this, Sarah Mann, Co-Director of Friends Families and Travellers said:

"We are delighted to have been appointed as Secretariat to the APPG for Gypsies, Travellers and Roma. In these challenging times, it is essential that Gypsy Roma and Traveller organisations, activists and communities work closely together to present a strong and unified voice about issues affecting Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. We hope to provide a forum for community members and activists to have their voices heard by politicians and policy members on the issues that affect them and are keen to work with anyone who shares in this vision."

We would like to thanks our funders the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Allen Lane Foundation for supporting this work and enabling it to go ahead.

The Travellers' Times wishes FFT all the best in its new role.

Read all about it!

To read previous TT articles on the work of the APPG please click on the headlines below:

Baroness Whitaker ‘cuts the turf’ for new Gypsy Cooperative centre

Proposed debate sparks war of words in Parliament

Kate Green MP speaks out on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller youth in custody