Profile - GRT v2 by panniuniu


									Profile: Gypsies, Roma and Irish Travellers (Draft)

Gypsies, Roma and Irish Travellers (G,R&T) are ethnic groups recognised under
race relations legislation. Ancestors of Gypsies and Roma migrated from north west
India from the tenth century travelling and establishing themselves throughout
Europe and northen Africa and today most parts of the world. Irish Travellers see
themselves as part of the Celtic heritage and have been part of Irish society for

The names Roma and Gypsy are generally interchangeable across Europe (for
simplicity in this paper Roma is used to refer to recently arrived Roma from Romania
and Bulgaria). In the UK Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers have maintained a
caravan dwelling tradition, whilst many European Roma no longer do so, often
because of historic forcible removal from caravan life.

Population in Bristol

There is no reliable data on population sizes. Government estimates indicate that
the indigenous UK Gypsy/Irish Traveller population is similar to that of the
Bangladeshi community (according to the ONS, 300,000 in the UK in 2006).
Gypsies, Roma and Travellers have not in the past been a specific category in the
National Census, however they will be included in the forthcoming 2011 census.
Estimates of the European Roma population are that 50-80 families are currently
living in Bristol.

Tenant Population

In the 2009 profile of council tenants two tenants identified themselves as Gypsy or
Traveller. As 50% of BCC tenants have been interviewed so far there appears to be
an issue of under-declaration, probably due to fear of discrimination. If the figure of
two is correct then there is an issue of access to the service when comparison is
made with other local information. In addition to this the council also has Gypsy and
Traveller tenants on the residential site in South Bristol.


Romanian Roma in Bristol live in private rented accommodation, often several
families sharing a small house with 15-20 people per house, they are generally
excluded by government policy from access to social housing. Whilst most UK origin
Gypsies and Travellers want to live in mobile accommodation, such as trailers and
caravans, problems obtaining site pitches are well documented. Those living in
housing have been identified as having the poorest health status in a recent study by
Sheffield University (see below).

Number of Children in Education

Autumn 2009, All Bristol Schools
                                         Gypsy Roma Traveller Children
Primary                                               107
Secondary                                       28 (at one shool)
Home Ed / Special/ Exclusion                           5
Known not on school role                               10
Pre School                                             21
Total                                                 171
Source: Avon Consortium Traveller Education Service 2009

Key Poor Health Headlines

“Gypsy and Traveller people find it difficult to maintain good health, whether
they practice a travelling lifestyle or a more settled lifestyle”

             NHS Bristol Primary Care Trust Single Equality Scheme 2009-2012 (April 2009)

A study by Sheffield University found that nationally “Gypsy Travellers have
significantly poorer health status and more self reported symptoms of ill health
than other resident English speaking ethnic minorities and economically
disadvantaged white UK residents.”

“In a recent local study of a selection of Travellers and Gypsies, housing
problems were identified as having the biggest impact on wellbeing, with the
associated worry about future security and safety, stress and depression.”

“Gypsy and Traveller children experience many disruptions to their education,
which impact on achievement and employment opportunities later on. The
close link between education and health means that this disruption of
education is undermining their health in later life.”

                                                  Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, 2008

Economic Activity

UK Gypsies and Travellers are mainly be self-employed and undertake all sorts of
different work. The Roma population wish to take up employment but are largely
excluded by government policy so are generally also self-employed in such activities
as selling the Big Issue, windscreen washing, labouring or dealing in scrap metal.

Issues Requiring Attention

Gypsies, Roma and Travellers suffer from their lack of access to education and a
sizable minority are illiterate in all of their languages. Although they are often highly
skilled with practical manual, craft and language expertise their lack of literacy
causes them problems in obtaining employment, interacting with local people, and
accessing local and national government services.

When Bulgaria and Romania acceded to the European Union in 2007, restrictions
were placed on them that apply for up to seven years. These restrictions prevent
their citizens (which include Roma Gypsies from Romania) from accessing social
housing, most types of employment, and the vast majority of benefits. As a result,
they are likely to experience extreme poverty and poor health.

Community support

Community Development team -
Gypsy and Traveller team -

Key Community Priorities

   o Poor educational achievement education resulting in poor school attendance
     and life opportunities. This can be compouned by a cultural resistance to
     secondary education.
   o Poor access to accommodation services including welfare rights advice,
     tenancy support and Gypsy/Traveller site provision.
   o Public and media hostility to Gypsy/Traveller sites and overt racism when
     reporting on new sites.
   o Significant poverty and hunger in the Roma population.
   o Poor access to health services, high premature death ratios, teenage
     pregnancies and little or no health contact prior to birth, low life expectancy.


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