Welcoming two Olivia's

The start to 2024 has seen TM welcoming two Olivia's to the team. You can find out more about them both here.

16 Feb 2024

Hi, I’m Olivia Morrison and I’ve just joined The Traveller Movement as the Partnerships and Development Manager.

I thought I’d share a bit about me, my Romani (Gypsy) heritage and the work I’ll be doing here at The Traveller Movement.

I grew up in Surrey but currently live and work in South London, where I have strong family ties. Romani (Gypsies) have lived and worked in South London for centuries – with my own family having lived and worked in Southwark and Wandsworth as horse dealers and brush makers for generations. My Nan had a profound influence on my life, and I grew up listening to her sharing stories about her childhood, as well as the stories that have been passed down within my family from generation to generation relating to our origins, way of life, and sadly too, discrimination.

Following my A Levels, I decided to pursue a degree in Theology and Religion. I had always been interested in the role of religion in people’s lives, as well as religious history and I was able to explore both of these throughout the course of my degree. I graduated from Durham University in 2018 with a 2:1 in in Theology and Religion BA (Hons) and then decided to undertake a part-time and online Master’s degree in International Development through the University of Edinburgh.

Whilst studying for my Master’s degree, I completed an internship in Stockholm, Sweden. My role as the Youth and Communications Intern at the Global Water Partnership provided me with invaluable insight into both communications and delivering youth-focused projects. I also worked as a waitress in an Irish pub in the centre of Stockholm during that time, so my basic Swedish is “jätte bra” (quite good).

I then returned to London and began work as a Programme Co-Ordinator (a role that no longer exists, but is similar to a Grants Officer) at Lloyds Bank Foundation. This was my first role in grant-making and I really enjoyed learning about the different charities funded by Lloyds Bank Foundation. It was at Lloyds that I first learnt about The Traveller Movement. I couldn’t believe that such an organisation existed! I remember how excited I was to tell my Nan about all the work The Traveller Movement was doing – and how there were other organisations out there also supporting Romani (Gypsy), Roma and Irish Traveller communities.

In 2020, I moved to a smaller, community-led grant-making organisation in the East End (East End Community Foundation). It was here that I developed many of the skills I use in my current role today. I absolutely loved working with the different grassroots organisations across Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets. Whilst I was working at EECF, I decided to undertake a Level 4 Certificate in Professional Digital Marketing through the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I completed this course with a Distinction – Whilst I’m not sure marketing is my calling, the course further developed many of the project management skills I developed in my role at EECF.

Flash forward to summer 2023 – I saw a job posting on The Traveller Movement’s Instagram page and knew I had to apply! After a few meetings with Yvonne (our CEO), I was offered the role of Partnerships and Development Manager at The Traveller Movement (almost 6 years after I first discovered the organisation and hurried home to tell my Nan all about it).

I am truly honoured to (finally!) be a part of The Traveller Movement as I really believe that the organisation is changing the world – through advocating for the rights of, and challenging the historic and continued prejudice faced by, Romani (Gypsy), Roma and Irish Traveller communities. My Nan passed in 2019, but I know that the knowledge she passed on to me will continue to serve me in my role here at The Traveller Movement.

That’s it from me now – Except to add that I’m excited to see what the future holds and I look forward to meeting many of you over the course of my time here at The Traveller Movement.

I can be contacted by email at business@travellermovement.org.uk

Events & Activities

Partnerships and Development Manager

Community Advocacy Caseworker

Hello, Olivia Hammond here – I’m a Romany Gypsy from Lancashire and I’ve just joined The Traveller Movement as a Community Advocacy Caseworker.

I just wanted to share a little bit about me, my previous experience, how I got involved with The Traveller Movement and what I’m looking forward to in my new role!

I had a traditional Romany start to life, living in a trailer with my mam, dad and sister for the majority of my formative years. I went to primary school but didn’t continue onto high school. I spent the years between 10-15 doing the usual things that a young girl does in my culture, learning how to clean up and spending time with other girls from the community. I also spent lots of time working for the family business. However, I’d always known that there was something missing in my life, and I needed another purpose.

This led me to Lancaster & Morecambe College, where I completed a business traineeship and then a Level 3 Business Studies course, doing my GCSEs at the same time. I’d had an introduction to business at an early age as lots of GRT kids do. I fondly remember my dad encouraging me to serve customers and make sales from the age of 5, I think it’s why I became so talkative! College was an amazing experience for me, but a huge culture shock. I had to find a way to relate to my peers and build meaningful connections whilst holding onto my roots. I often say that I felt I was living in two separate worlds that had no overlap whatsoever.

After college at the age of 17 I had several jobs in the marketing sector, before returning to Lancaster & Morecambe College in a work capacity. In my 5 years there, I became a qualified teacher and taught business/marketing.

Whilst working, I regularly engaged with GRT organisations and got involved in projects and advocacy. I saw the injustices levelled towards myself and my community and felt passionate about creating change. That passion only grew, and after being a key speaker at The Traveller Movement’s annual conference two years in a row, I was keen to join the organisation as a member of staff and dedicate all of my time to making change. I felt that my values were matched by the team at The Traveller Movement and that it would be the perfect environment for me.

So, that’s the story so far! I aim I aim to be a part of creating necessary change for my community in my new role, and to elevate their voices. I hope that one day, a GRT person can go into the workplace without being stereotyped. Throughout my career I’ve been asked how I go about dodging tax, whether anyone tried to force me to get married at 16, if any members of my family are criminals or if I know who was responsible for random criminal events in my area! As GRT people, I think we all have a mental library of responses for these questions, and the mental strain is real. Change is slow, always has been but it is constant. I truly believe that The Traveller Movement is making a huge difference in changing the negative perceptions of GRT people and I’m proud to be a part of the team.

That’s all for now, I look forward to connecting with many of you in the future and I invite you to reach out if you have a story that you want to be heard. I can always offer a listening and understanding ear.

I can be contacted by email at esju@travellermovement.org.uk