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Gypsy/Roma/Traveller Young People Face Barriers to Active Participation

Structural inequalities are a continuing barrier for young Gypsy/Travellers, principally the lack of opportunities that recognise their contributions as active citizens. Many young people felt that they were not being listened to by professionals and little efforts were made to support them to understand why certain decisions were made for them.

They expressed a number of self-desires:





“More say in my own life [control].”

“Start a family.”

“Have my own place.”

Gaining work experience was viewed as a key tool to ensure their aspirations become a reality. These included:

“Go into further education.”

“Continue to become more independent.”

“Peace and respect as a Traveller.”

“Become a Gypsy/Traveller Liaison Officer.”

“Understand myself better.”

“Pass my driving test.”

“Become less discriminated against.”

“Get a job.”

“Have more self-belief.”

The voices of young Gypsy/Travellers speak for themselves:

“Things would improve if people listen to us.”

“I now realise there are so many rights that Gypsy/Travellers are neglected from.”

“I have learnt so much about my own rights and I am becoming very confident with myself.”

“Gypsy/Travellers have the same rights as anyone in the UK. We may live different lives but we still have the same rights.”

“Planning is relevant in all environments, it is a complicated process that should involve everyone but often does not.”

“Planning processes need to become more relevant to our culture and important decision makers need to gain a better understanding themselves.”

“It is important to learn about your own role within planning processes: we now know where to look for information.”

“Gaining useful knowledge that can be passed on to others is important.”

“Having the right to be allowed to talk in our own language.”

“Rights are things we are entitled to.”

“[I had] never heard of the UNCRC before now.”

“We want to take part.”

“[There needs to be more] opportunities to have [our] opinions listened to.”

“We want people to know we aren’t all the same.”

“We want to talk to people, give people the opportunity to meet Travellers.”

“More sites, houses, land.”

“Let us roam free.”

“We want somewhere where we can meet up to socialise.”

There was a feeling that mainstream politics

“wasn’t for them”

“wouldn’t make a difference”