Travelling Community Support Pilot Update

8 September 2015
Travelling Community Support Pilot Update

This service is a pilot project supporting Gypsy, Roma, Traveller and Boater communities, funded by the NHS Bath & North East Somerset Clinical Commisioning Group. The aim of the service is to enhance quality of life for Gypsy, Traveller, Showpeople and Boater families and individuals.

We are a signposting and engagement service with a primary focus on health and social care. There are 2 of us, working for the Bath based charity Julian House, which is a well established and trusted name in this area.

We started in January this year and have been incredibly busy assisting communities and individuals with a wide range of issues. Although our post has a health and wellbeing focus, we also find ourselves supporting our clients in other ways. It seems that due to gaps in funding healthworkers and education workers our service is filling in where there are no other options for support. We mediate and advocate for individuals and communities with other agencies and organisations, initially lending support with the backing of our Service with the aim of empowering those involved.

Some of our projects to date

We have funded and run first aid courses for liveaboard boaters on the canal and for residents of the recently opened Traveller site in Bath. We have worked with the Fire Service to deliver fire safety visits to these communities and give out smoke alarms. We have also attended benefit assessments, planning committee meetings, found funding grants to repair and replace caravans and purchase kitchen items for the new residents on the site, worked with the Canal & River Trust to prevent people loosing their homes through enforcement and ferried dogs to vets!

We put on 2 exhibitions in Bath during GRT History Month. We had a 1920’s vardo with traditional acoustic music,cultural awareness literature and information in a central park for a weekend, then an exhibition of art, photography and sculpture by members of our GRT and Boater communities. The event also featured the wonderful interactive Gypsy & Traveller Voices exhibition from Friends, Families & Travellers.

We have just started with an Outreach minibus project, where we are working in collaboration with other local support agencies, taking representatives out to the communities we work with. The aim of this is to provide a stepping stone into mainstream health and welfare services, building up trust, confidence and good relationships.

We are also putting together a leaflet for our service targeted specifically at settled Roma families in the area, and translated into several languages.

Our next big task is to offer cultural awareness training to GP practices within our area. We will also be pressing for health centres and hospitals to add Gypsy, Roma, New Traveller, Showpeople and Liveaboard Boaters to their monitoring forms so that these communities are finally represented on health statistics more clearly.

We have built up good relationships with all our service users and other organisations, and have many other ideas in the pipeline for the future, so we really hope we can get further funding for this service and continue to support our travelling and settled communities.

Please get in touch if you live in the Bath & NE Somerset area or here on the Kennet & Avon canal, and would like our support, or if you have any questions etc.

Sam & Connie

Tel: 01225 354650