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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Travellers need more help to integrate and end inequality

The Catholic Association for Racial Justice (CARJ) has highlighted the continued disadvantages faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities.

The independent charity, which was established in 1984, submitted a response to the Women and Equalities Committee inquiry Tackling inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. The inquiry looked at the progress made over the past five years to tackle inequalities suffered by GRT communities in the UK and what action the Government could take.

CSAN, a family of social action charities working for the most vulnerable people in society and an official agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, joined CARJ in making the submission.

CARJ, a member of CSAN, has for a number of years organised and serviced a Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Support Network. The network meets three or four times a year and brings together some 50 individuals and organisations which have an interest in GRT communities.

Using evidence from CARJ’s Traveller Network and CSAN, the response to the Women and Equalities Committee inquiry stated: ‘As the committee recognises, GRT communities are perhaps the most marginalised communities in the UK.

‘While there have been a number of positive developments in some local areas, on the whole, we do not believe that significant progress has been made over the past five years in improving their situation.

‘In fact, a case could be made that it has worsened during that period.’

The submission makes several recommendations, including investing in extra-school support programmes, providing a reasonable number of well-maintained GRT sites and introducing ethnic monitoring of GRT children in the youth criminal justice system.

You can read more on this story in the 10th February edition of The Universe.

Picture: Travellers from Castleford in Yorkshire arrive at Appleby in Cumbria for the famous Appleby Horse Fair, the annual gathering of gypsies and travellers. (Owen Humphreys/PA Archive).