Gypsy Roma Traveller Services
Goal: Gypsy Roma Traveller Services
"By 2020, in the South Midlands and Gloucestershire, provide fully funded high quality accommodation and associated services to support 60 Gypsy Roma Traveller (GRT) (approx. 500 residents - 30% of identified need for new pitches) improving health and well-being, educational attainment, social and financial inclusion; developing and promoting positive practice and equality."
This goal sets out to make a real difference to the quality of life of the Gypsy Roma Traveller community, which has faced a long history of social exclusion and marginalisation within society, characterised in various ways:
- lack of education
- poor health
- lower life expectancy
- poor housing
- conflict with local communities
- racial prejudice
The Department for Communities and Local Government advises councils that a Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessment (GTAA) is required either as part of a Strategic Housing Market Assessment, or separately where a Strategic Housing Market Assessment is not undertaken.
Within the core areas of South Worcestershire and Gloucestershire in which Rooftop operates, the GTAA’s say that least 251 permanent new 'pitches' are required now. Rooftop have just completed a new site in Solihull with 11 units.
For families, young people and the older people in this forgotten ethnic minority group, good quality accommodation can support better access to health, education and community services.
In addition to traditional caravan sites, many households with GRT roots seek ordinary housing and this goal seeks to use the provision of new GRT sites as well as housing solutions to provide a range of accommodation options to meet the needs of the community and improve their quality of life.
What we have done
1: Deliver Houndsfield Lane, Bromsgrove, refurbishment/new build project (2009-12)
This was the pilot project for Rooftop’s innovative approach of providing purpose designed new accommodation units, manufactured off site, to bring about a quality transformation for an existing site as well as proving additional pitches to meet local needs. This was officially reopened in 2012 following completion of ancillary environmental works. The learning from this project will inform subsequent schemes.
2: Deliver HCA gypsies and travellers affordable homes programme (2011-15)
This was Rooftop’s overarching project to deliver not just the agreed HCA programme, but also make a difference to the quality of life for this community. The new G & T Lifestyles project has taken over the health, education and inclusion aspects of this project.
3: Gypsy and Travellers site – Solihull (2012-15)
In late 2011, Solihull Council was moving onto the next stage of deciding how the future accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers in the borough will be met. The Council consulted on a Gypsy and Traveller site allocations development plan document (DPD) ‘options’ paper, which looked to identify the possible ways pitches and sites could come forward. This project delivered 11 modern new pitches on a site identified by the Council , working with strategic partners and the Irish Traveller community.
What we are doing
4: G & T lifestyles project/initiative
This project will implement initiatives to promote health, education and lifestyle choices for the Traveller community as well as considering the impact of site management and the provision of services on site.
Currently wi-fi is being installed on the Houndsfield site in a new initiative in partnership with the Worcestershire G & T Education Team, to help promote digital inclusion and increased educational opportunities for the younger G & T generation.
Additional facilities are being considered for the Houndsfield site, which could potentially provide a location for educational/health and digital inclusion initiatives and services.
5: Gypsy and Travellers site – Solihull phase 2
Expansion of the G & T site at Solihull by the purchase of 7 pitches adjoining the current site from Solihull Council, and joint management of the extended scheme.