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09/10/19 09:35

Improving Gypsy/Traveller lives

Action plan to address inequalities.

 

A £3 million action plan to tackle the discrimination and challenges faced by the Gypsy/Traveller community has launched.

The plan, which has been co-produced with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), will support improvements to accommodation, education, healthcare and access to benefits.

Local authorities will use £2 million of the funding to improve Gypsy/Traveller accommodation and sites, with the remaining funding going towards third sector children’s education projects and health and social care initiatives.

The action plan will focus on five key areas:

  • providing more and better accommodation
  • improving access to public services
  • maximising household incomes
  • tackling racism and discrimination
  • strengthening community development and engagement

Equalities Minister Christina McKelvie said:

“This action plan seeks to tackle deep-seated inequalities and discrimination experienced by Gypsy/Travellers by addressing the challenges they face.

“It is a collaborative approach with COSLA and we have listened to the concerns of Gypsy/Travellers. We want to make a difference to their lives and ensure they are treated fairly and have positive experiences of our public services.

“We have identified key areas to focus on for the next two years which we believe will have the biggest impact on communities. This includes improvements to accommodation and education.

“There is a long tradition of Gypsy/Travellers in Scotland and it is important the community feels safe and respected and know they are valued members of Scotland’s diverse cultural heritage.”

Councillor Elena Whitham, COSLA Community Wellbeing spokesperson, said:

“I am proud to say that all 32 council leaders have unanimously backed this plan and pledged to provide leadership locally.

“It’s crucial that we turn words into action to rebuild trust with our Gypsy/Traveller communities, who continue to face intolerable discrimination and are at a high risk of poverty.

“We’ll work with the Scottish Government to make sure that Gypsy/Travellers have their rights respected and are fully included in our communities.

“The action plan is rightly ambitious about the changes we want to see and will continue to be driven by the passion and energy of the community to create better lives for their families.”

Dominique Barr, Gypsy/Traveller Women’s Voices Project development worker at the Minority Ethnic Carers of People Project, said:

“We are delighted to welcome the Scottish Government’s and COSLA’s action plan to tackle the numerous and entrenched problems experienced by Gypsy/Traveller communities in Scotland.

“Over the past two years, the government and COSLA have worked with Gypsy/Travellers across Scotland to develop a realistic plan to tackle the problems that affect the community. Inadequate standards of living, poor access to public services and racism are among the problems the community faces.

“We are hopeful that the concerted efforts of all partners together with the community will drive forward real and lasting change.”

Background

Improving the Lives of Scotland’s Gypsy/Travellers 2019-2021 is a joint Scottish Government/COSLA action plan, which sets out 33 actions we will take forward across local and national government to make meaningful progress towards addressing the discrimination and disadvantage experienced by Gypsy/Traveller communities.

An investment of £3 million will back the action plan, this includes:

  • £2 million investment to improve living standards on public sector sites
  • £500,000 to improve the delivery of flexible family learning
  • £400,000 to test innovative ways of offering health and social care services, for example through a new Community Health Workers programme
  • £100,000 to provide practical and financial support to Gypsy/Traveller communities

The actions have been developed with the advice, support and challenge of advocates, activists and members of Gypsy/Traveller communities, as well as being informed by the expertise of those who are responsible for developing and delivering policies and services nationally and locally.

The plan is closely linked to our wider shared priorities in the National Performance Framework and our ambitions to create a fairer Scotland. This means tackling poverty and inequality and, in particular, bringing an end to child poverty. It also means ensuring that everyone has a safe and secure place to live, and ending homelessness. Above all, this plan is about protecting and promoting human rights, delivering equality and creating strong and cohesive communities.

It will be delivered over the next two years with bi-annual updates to track progress and ensure local community engagement.