“On a personal level my involvement with TM and their help in ensuring that I have been able to attend conferences and ministerial meetings has definitely strengthened my voice, not only am I now Vice Chair of The Cross Party Group on Gypsy and traveller issues within the Welsh Government but I am also applying for independent funding to enable me to be more proactive as an advocate. I feel that without TM's support and Mike Doherty's support this would not be possible. Without this support the situation would be dismal for my community in Wales.” - Andree Morgan (Romany Gypsy campaigner, Wales)
"Very impressed with the work of the project and it has taken me in a total different direction as to how I engage policy issues” - Sherrie Smith, Romany Gypsy, Hertfordshire
"It’s shown people how you can challenge, that you don't have to sit down and take it” - Josie O’Driscol, Irish Traveller, Hertfordshire, Chair of Herts Gypsy and Traveller Empowerment
"I am an independent community Gypsy Traveller advocate based in Wales where there is no one organisation that deals with issues affecting Gypsies and Travellers I have therefore had to seek help from the Traveller Movement and in particular from Mike Doherty. Without their help and support several issues could not have been dealt with effectively including charges on the Ysgiog Field and problems faced by residents on the local site in Brecon. Traveller Movement actually visited the 2 sites and spoke directly with people affected by issues. Also for the first time ever thanks to the Operation Traveller Vote campaign run by Traveller Movement and visits to Wales by their officers Gypsies & Travellers participated in the General Election. TM has challenged local authorities in Wales on behalf of the community and also helped the community engage with statutory bodies inparticular the local authority. The community now know that they can seek advice and support from TM despite the fact that they are based in England. On a personal level my involvement with TM and their help in ensuring that I have been able to attend conferences and ministerial meetings has definitely strengthened my voice, not only am I now Vice Chair of The Cross Party Group on Gypsy and Traveller issues within the Welsh Government but I am also applying for independent funding to enable me to be more proactive as an advocate. I feel that without TM's support and Mike Doherty's support this would not be possible. Without this support the situation would be dismal for my community in Wales.” - Andree Morgan, Romany Gypsy, Wales, Vice Chair of The Cross Party Group on Gypsy and Traveller issues within the Welsh Government
"It's given me the opportunity to have my voice heard” - Rosie Toohey, Irish Traveller, London
"In relation to the development of the GRTPA and achieving our aims and objectives, Mikes work has been invaluable. As a fledgling organisation we have worked closely with Mike and have relied on his advice and guidance as we have set about challenging Policing Policy as it relates to Gypsies and Travellers. We started as an organisation that did not have a voice but have quickly developed into a group who are now regularly consulted by media, local authorities and Police Forces on National Issues relating to Gypsies and Travellers, and more importantly, we feel skilled and empowered enough to do so with confidence. Mikes guidance on how to get the best from the media has been immensely important to us, as has his guidance on matters of policy and law relating to Gypsies and Travellers. It is not an exaggeration to say that without the support and guidance he has provided us over the last two years the GRTPA could not have developed and reached its current position.” - Jim Davies, Romany Gypsy, Oxfordshire, Executive Director, Gypsy Roma Traveller Police Association (GRTPA)
"Awareness of all the issues is helpful when supporting witnesses at court and being aware of organisations that can help.”
“Very helpful and interesting; to eliminate stereotypical images of Traveller."
“I have gained more awareness which will allow me to have a better understanding when working with the Travelling community. All of it was useful.”
“Deeper awareness of the issues raised by domestic abuse. More accurate knowledge of the Traveller community”.
“Increased understanding of the additional issues this community face.”
“I am more confident to work with people from Traveller community; I know where to sign-post my clients to if necessary.”
“Has increased my awareness of the community”
“I knew very little about the Travelling community so gave me awareness”.
“The course opened me to different pressures the Travelling community may be under”.
Kathleen contacted The Traveller Movement to get advice about her son’s education. Patrick is 16 and was excluded from his school over a year ago when the school found it hard to deal with his behaviour. Patrick has ADHD and finds it difficult to concentrate on tasks, sometimes he is disruptive and he often distracts other people from their work.
After being excluded, a place was found for him in a school designed for young people who find mainstream schools difficult but after going for a few weeks Patrick decided he didn’t want to go.
As he is under 18, Patrick needs to be in some kind of full time education or training or his mum could get in trouble with the local authority. Parents can be fined or even sometimes jailed for keeping their children out of education. Kathleen was also worried about how difficult it would be for her son to find a job if he had no GCSEs- most employers look for staff with qualifications.
I met with Patrick and Kathleen and we chatted about what they both wanted to happen and what had happened previously with the school. We then went to the school together for a meeting with the deputy head teacher. The teacher listened while Patrick explained how difficult he found lessons and made suggestions of other ways of learning that he might find easier. Together we came up with a plan- Patrick would be given work to complete at home and would come in once a week to chat through the finished work with a teacher and collect work for the next week. After doing this for a while, the school will add more hours with a teacher so that Patrick slowly gets used to learning in school and not at home. This will make it easier for him to join in lessons with other pupils and study towards getting qualifications.