Travelling Ahead’s 10th National Youth Forum gathers record numbers

7 November 2018
Group photo

Young people  from all over Wales gathered together on the 26th October for Travelling Ahead’s 10th national youth forum at Baskerville Hall in Powys.

It’s the only national meeting for young Gypsies, Roma and Travellers in Wales and decision makers are invited from the Welsh Government and Welsh assembly to come and listen to the views and experiences of young people.

Ricky price (21) said: “It’s nice to meet new people and see what other Travellers are doing in different parts of Wales.

Julie Morgan AM and Chair of the Cross Party Group for Gypsies and Travellers opened the conference welcoming everyone urging young people get their voice heard and cast their vote for the first Gypsy or Traveller Welsh Youth Parliament candidate.

Julie Morgan AM addressing young people
Tyrone and Ricky Price
TA banner

Travelling Ahead’s youth advisory group help plan the annual youth forum and choose the sessions and activities. This meant young people had a whole range of workshops to choose from on the day with flower making, boxing, and storytelling being popular choices!

Tyrone Price (18) Travelling Ahead Youth Advisory member said: “I though last year would my last year volunteering for Travelling Ahead but I’m so glad I decided to be part of it again this year. I am happy volunteering and enjoy doing this more than anything. When you’re here there’s so many people who have interesting things to say you can see the difference in cultures and learn so much, it’s generally a positive vibe”.

pen y dre high school merthyr
Students from Pen-Y-Dre High school Merthyr Tydfil

Others workshops included how to stay safe on the internet and ran a workshop about speaking out about crime. A representative from the Welsh Youth Parliament was on hand to tell young people all about the first ever youth elections and had a ballot box where young people could cast their vote for the first young Gypsy and Traveller candidate! 

 #YTT asked one of the candidates Tom Berry  why he decided to stand he said: ‘I stood for the equality position because I think I have good skills in getting my point across and I think I will be good for working on Gypsy and Traveller issues and giving us a voice.’

Tom Berry hoping to be elected for Welsh Youth Parliament standing by the evaluation framework he helped create to get young peoples feedback about the forum
Tom Berry hoping to be elected for Welsh Youth Parliament standing by the evaluation framework he helped create to get young peoples feedback about the forum

Also on hand were Tom Tom Henry and Barrie Morgan from the Association of Gypsies and Travellers in Wales to tell young people what was being planned for next year’s annual holocaust memorial service  and how they could get involved.

There were also stalls and drop in sessions, among them were the Children’s Commissioner for Wales Team and the Children’s Legal Centre who were there to keep young people up to date with the projects they are developing and learn more about issues that are important to young Gypsy Roma and Travellers.

Girls on smoothie stall
Charltina Price

Angel-Marie Jones (13) and Charltina Price (14) were in charge of the smoothie stall making delicious (we know, #YTT tried one!) and healthy drinks. Charltina said: “I’ve made 4 smoothies for people so far, the days going good!” She also had a go at taking some of her own photos using #YTT’s camera. In the Main Hall craft activities ran throughout the day with young people making friendship bracelets and canvas paintings.  

Young people from Wrexham
Canvas paintings
Canvas fun
canvas paintings
Canvas paintings

Sherrie Smith ran a workshop with young people to learn how to make an autumnal display piece using artificial flowers. Charlotte Jones (11) said: “I really like making the flowers; I’m going to give them to my mam as a present”. 

Fun Flower making
Girls with flowers
Roma girls with flowers
Boys making flowers
Girls making flowers
Girls making flowers

From the patio room singing and laughter could be heard as Singer and story teller Thomas McCarthy had young people captivated as they heard stories about the heritage and rich history of Gypsies and Travellers and even got some of the girls showcasing their singing skills. Andrew Price (12) said: “I liked the stories and found out things I didn’t know about the history.”

Thomas McCarthy
Thomas McCarthy

In the dance hall boxing coach Nathan Probert was running some try out training sessions that proved popular with the boys. Layton Dixon (13) said “I learnt a few new tricks for boxing today!”  Lauren from Sport Equality Wales also joined in the fun and put on some other sporting activities.

Girls with photo fans

And huge amounts of fun was had in the ‘Photo Booth’ which went down a storm Nellie Williams (11) and Shakira Price (11) said: “We love the photo booth!”

Jolene Fisher (14) Maisie Johnson (13)  Savannah Miller (13)  Rona Jones (13)  Demi Jones (12)
Jolene Fisher (14) Maisie Johnson (13) Savannah Miller (13) Rona Jones (13) Demi Jones (12)

#YTT loved being asked along to join in the day, it’s such a great way for Young Gypsies and Travellers in Wales to get together, learn some new skills, find out about opportunities and get their voices heard, we can’t wait until next year!”

Travelling Ahead TGP Cymru is an all Wales project working with young people and families from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. They run the Wales Advice and Advocacy Service to offer advice and support on your rights, the law and to help tackle hate crime and discrimination. You can freephone them on 0808 802 0025