The GRTAB have quarterly meetings at the TM offices in London and also work in subgroups and individual capacities as and when required.
The group and its members have been instrumental in:
- Coordinating and facilitating TM’s highly successful annual national conferences since 2007, attended by approximately 200 people each year
- Guiding TM research, including TM’s 2013 Department of Health funded study on the impact of insecure accommodation on Gypsies’ and Travellers’ health
- Attending Department of Education Gypsy Roma Traveller Stakeholder Group meetings and guiding TM education policy
- Challenging negative media coverage of Gypsies and Travellers, including TM’s successful complaint to the Advertising Standards Agency against Channel 4’s ‘Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’ advertisements
- Guiding and drafting the TM submission to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
- To strive for confident and pro-active participation, TM offers capacity building and skills development training to all members. We believe that self-confidence is key to full participation within the group and the ability to represent the issues affecting these communities externally. GRT Advisory Board members are from a wide geographical spread with an incredible range of diverse backgrounds and skills, including tradesmen, classroom assistants, teachers, traders, community youth workers, solicitors, respected activists and community advocates.
The Traveller Movement’s policy officer facilitates the GRT Advisory Board. For inquiries into joining our Advisory Board please contact us.
Jim Davies has worked alongside the TM for a number of years in his previous role as Director of the Gypsy Roma Traveller Police Association (GRTPA), which he co-founded in 2014. His main interest and focus is on dismantling the societal barriers that exist for the Romany and Traveller people that prevent them from accessing the same equality of opportunity and quality of life that the majority of the population have access to.
Helena Kiely was born in London and left school when she was 11. Helena returned to education at 16 and began working at the London Gypsy and Traveller (LGT) when she was 17. She also spent some time working with the Traveller Movement. Helena applied for university in Sheffield and in 2015 graduated with a 1st class Honours Degree in Youth and Community Work. Currently Helena is a Director at the ReallyNEET project, an education provider dedicated to making education accessible to those who have struggled to cope in mainstream education.
Colin Clark is Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS). Colin has worked in Higher Education for over 25 years and his main teaching and research interests are in the broad areas of ethnic and racial studies, migration, intersectionality, and Romani studies. Colin gained his MA (Hons.) degree from the University of Dundee and his PhD from the University of Edinburgh. He has previously taught at Glasgow University, Newcastle University and Strathclyde University. Outside of UWS, Colin is a Board member of the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights and a Trustee of Romano Lav (Roma Voice) in a voluntary capacity. He is also a member of the research advisory group of the Scottish Human Rights Commission. Colin is of Scottish Traveller descent, the Robertson’s of the North East of Scotland (Aberdeenshire). @profcolinclark
Martin Gallagher is an Irish Traveller working to promote equality and raise awareness of GRT (Gypsy/Roma/ Traveller) issues. He is a GRT engagement officer with Travelling Ahead in Wales. Martin blogs about life as an Irish Traveller dad with anxiety and depression. His blog was recently ranked Top UK Mental Health Blogs. In 2019 Martin was nominated for a Positive Role Model Award for Race, Faith, & Religion at the National Diversity Awards. @learningtodad
Kealey Sly is an English Romani Gypsy who lives in Leicester with her husband and two sons. Kealey is a qualified Social Worker who works with Leicester city council. She is also a member of the Gypsy Roma Traveller Women’s Empowerment Network. Kealey believes that Gypsies and Travellers of all ages must be able to live in a society free from fear, prejudice, discrimination and oppression. Kealey works towards this by working together with local and national agencies to ensure that Gypsy and Traveller families and their children are given equal and fair access to all services and opportunities. Gypsies and Travellers have and continue to give a great deal to society, it is time for their contributions to be acknowledged and respected.
Chrissie Browne went to University as a mature student and completed an internship with the King’s College London Widening Participation (WP) department in the summer of 2018. After her internship finished, she sat down with them and discussed ways that they could reach GRT communities, and that is now her role within King’s College WP team. Chrissie has always been proud of her heritage as a Traveller but gets tired of the stereotypes about the community, and some of the stereotypes of women from within the community. @chrissiebrowne
Chelsea McDonagh is an Irish Traveller from London. She has a First Class degree in Physical and Sport Education from St Mary’s University Twickenham and is currently studying for a Master’s in Education at King’s College London. Chelsea has considerable experience working with disengaged young people, through the mediums of sport and education. She is currently working on the publication of research which explores Gypsy and Traveller experiences of Higher Education. Areas of interest include education, GRT in Higher Education, NEET/Alternative Education Provision and LGBT Travellers. @chelsmcdonagh
Florie is a director of the Gypsy Roma Traveller Police Association and a serving police officer. She is from a Roma background, having lived in the UK for five years. Florie has mentored a number of Traveller children encouraging them to join the police force and helping them to display positive behaviour. She also does work within her own police force to ensure that racism towards GRT people (for example, online racism) is challenged, and works to educate and raise awareness around these issues by delivering training. She is passionate about diversity within the police workforce.
Thomas Mccarthy is an Irish Traveller and a traditional Irish singer and storyteller. Thomas is from Birr in County Offaly in Ireland. His family are the McCarthy’s who settled there generations ago. He comes from a long line of old traditional singers and musicians who kept the tradition of singing strong. He has been named the Traditional Singer of the Year in the Gradam Ceoil Awards on TG4 in 2019.
John McCarthy is an Irish Traveller and a qualified social care worker who works with young adults with intellectual and physical disabilities. He is a former board member of the Irish Traveller Movement in Dublin as well as a volunteer with the Clondalkin Traveller Development group for over 20 years. John is passionate about fighting the discrimination and marginalisation that Irish Travellers face on a daily basis. He has a particular interest in fighting to protect the rights of Travellers with disabilities.
Sabrina Stewart is a Scottish Traveller. She previously worked as a legal development intern with Traveller Movement’s Equality and Social Justice Unit (ESJU), helping with casework and designing information leaflets. She also delivered cultural competency training and took part in a three day workshop on political participation, organised by the Forum of European Roma Young People in Strasbourg. In her capacity as a Traveller activist she has set up first aid courses and adult literacy courses in Carlisle. Sabrina has a degree in nursing from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, and she has completed media training with the Travellers’ Times. Sabrina is a member of Women’s Empowerment Network (WEN) as she cares passionately about the rights of people in her community. As a Scottish Traveller she thinks the rights of GRT people deserve to be fought for.
Dr David Smith is a Reader at Anglia Ruskin University in the Faculty of Health, Education Medicine and Social Care. He completed his ESRC funded PhD at Royal Holloway College, University of London in 2002, an ethnographic study of the social and community impacts of large scale economic and industrial changes in London. David’s research includes examination in the use of palliative and end of life care in BME groups; the reasons for low uptake of the MMR vaccine in Gypsy/Traveller communities; as well as work on the social integration of Roma migrants for the EU Fundamental Rights Agency. David has acted as a panel member on the Department for Education's Gypsy Roma Traveller Stakeholder Education Group, and on a review of Coalition Government Policy on Gypsies and Travellers for the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. In 2013 he published a co-authored monograph Gypsies and Travellers in Housing: the decline of nomadism, which was the first in-depth study of the settlement of the UK's nomadic communities into housing and the social impact of these changes.