Well done to 17 residents of Cottingley Springs who recently took part in the Mud Run at Temple Newsam Park to raise money and awareness for Cancer Research. The group raised well over £400 and money is still coming in.
The group were inspired by Kathleen Morrison, GATE worker, close relation and friend to many of the competitors, who sadly died of cancer in 2012.
“We weren’t really sure what we were getting ourselves into” said her sister, Eileen Lowther “we wanted to do it for the memory of Kathleen, that was great. When we got there there were men throwing shovels of mud in your face, it was fun, but…erm, muddy!!!”
When asked if they would do it again next year overwhelmingly the cry was yes, and this time people, get us a muddy picture after not the nice clean one before!
We often say at GATE if you get things right for Gypsy and Traveller people you will get things right for a whole range of people, I often think of this in my own experiences of trying to access healthcare systems.
How difficult the processes can be, the way you’re made to feel a bit like a nuisance and the reaction that provokes in me (okay, well I’ll just get on with it myself then). And if I am white, reasonably middle class, literate, a professional who works with healthcare providers all the time and, to a certain extent, I know how to codify my language to the situation – how difficult must it be if you find reading and writing hard, you haven’t got much credit on your mobile, you’re super stressed and you’ve got 3 kids to look after? Frankly, I’d think to hell with it. Read more
Of the four objectives of Leeds GATE (homes, health, education/economic inclusion & citizenship/social inclusion) education is perhaps the hardest to feel that we are ‘getting a purchase’ on. There are real concerns about whether Gypsy and Traveller young people are getting an education which will serve them well enough in their futures, and further related concerns about whether our safeguarding net is fit to catch them should they need it.
Most of our young Gypsy and Traveller children, and their parents, are happy enough whilst the children are in primary school. This of itself represents progress since the bad old days when even primary school was hard to access, and hard to stay with. Unfortunately this progress hasn’t transitioned into High School. On one site, for example, 37 out of 37 high school age young people are not attending school and this worrying trend is duplicated to a greater or lesser degree on sites across the country. Read more
As promised during the recent election, the new Government are pushing ahead with proposals to replace the Human Rights Act. In the Queen’s Speech last week this intention was formalised, so we can expect to see some concrete proposals over the coming year. The concern for so many is not only that any proposed replacement ‘British bill of Rights’ unavoidably provides fewer safeguards in practice but the general attitude displayed towards vulnerable people and the likely tone of debate.
For Gypsies and Travellers, the Human Rights Act has in some cases been of clear and specific use. Indeed some of our members have directly benefitted from it, appealing to key articles regarding a right to privacy of family life to prevent the Local Authority from evicting them unjustly. The concern is not simply that such rights would long longer be available in future but that it is precisely such cases, misleadingly retold, will be used as a reason why the Act needs to go.
The tone of such debate with regards to protection of minorities could quite easily become hostile, with the focus on scapegoats and exaggeration instead of facts and understanding. Read more