Gypsy Roma Traveller Leeds
The permanent site of the Gypsy Roma Traveller Communities
Leeds and Yorkshire has a history rich with the presence of Traveller and Gypsies.
In fact the first recorded mention of Gypsies was in 1572.
A team from the University of Sheffield, led by Professor Glenys Parry, have been conducted this study the results of which were launched on 1st October 2004 in London.
Three reports are now up on their website: a summary report, the full report and the qualitative findings. All three documents are downloadable by following this link (pdf files).
Earlier, in 1999, Glenys and her colleague, Patrice Van Cleemput had carried out a pilot study in Sheffield, when Patrice was then a health visitor for that population of Travellers. Results of the pilot study had shown statistically and clinically significant differences between Gypsy Travellers and their non-Gypsy Traveller comparators in some aspects of health status and significant associations with smoking and with frequency of travelling. These results led to them submitting a bid to the Inequalities Research Programme in the Dept of Health to conduct multi centre research in Sheffield, Leicester, Norfolk, London and Bristol, in order to provide the first national data set on health status.
The bid was successful and the study commenced in January 2002.
The Study Report will be launched at a one day conference, funded by the Department of Health, on Friday October 1st 2004 at the Friends' Meeting House, Euston Road, London.
This research is important in order to provide an evidence base for developing sound policy, implementing existing policy and developing culturally competent services.
For the study, each Gypsy Traveller completed a comprehensive health questionnaire and was also matched with someone of the same age and sex in a settled population group to make fair comparisons. The study will also make comparisons with national data.
A further stage of the study was to explore inequalities in health service access by conducting in-depth interviews with selected Gypsy Travellers who were identified as having health problems on completion of the health questionnaire. This part of the study was necessary in order to discover and understand the beliefs, values, decisions, and actions of Gypsy Travellers in relation to health and access to health care, and the meaning that they attach to them.
Gypsy Travellers have been fully involved in the study from the start. Ann Bagehot, secretary of the Gypsy Council, and Gypsy Travellers, Josie Lee, Richard O’Neill, Mally Dow, Mary Lee and the late Tommy Doherty, have all given their support and advice to the study as members of the research study advisory group.
More recently, at the end of 2003, the research study team gave presentations of the early findings at a series of road shows for Gypsy Travellers in each of the study locations, in order to validate the findings and invite further discussion and comments. The views and comments from Travellers who attended these forums will be incorporated into the final report.
The final presentation in Sheffield, which was opened up to Travellers from other areas of the country, commenced with a minute’s silence in memory of Tommy Doherty, who was deeply committed to the study but is sadly no longer with us for it’s conclusion.
Grateful thanks also go out to (in addition to Gypsy Travellers mentioned) to: Cindy Cooper, Kate Thomas, Nick Payne, Steve Walters, Paul Dolan, Lucy Appleton, Lynne Hartwell, Sarah Rhodes, Jackie Mosley, Teresa Murray, Rachael Wilson, Val Dumbleton, Hilary Beech, Karen Crapper, Linda Wilson, Jenny Smith, Haringey Travellers Team, Haringey TES, Norfolk TES, Patricia Anderson, Jackie Gleeson, Becky Taylor, Rosemary Hasler, Bob Lewis.
There have been Gypsies and Travellers in Leeds for over 500 years. They have their own heritage, language and long established cultural traditions and are recognised minority ethnic groups.
Travellers’ problems are complex and are often caused or exacerbated by the environmental living conditions. Many families live with a tremendous amount of anxiety – fear of eviction, finding a place to stop and the constant battle against discrimination and poor access to medical care in some parts of the country.