Merry Christmas Everyone

It’s that time of year! We’re winding down towards closing after our Christmas Party on Thursday 18th (the party starts at 3.30 after school).  You might also want to join us when we go to the Carol Service for local groups which is in the Church near to the office, St. Hilda’s, on Wednesday at 12.30.  It would be lovely to see some of our friends there, many thanks to St. Hilda’s for inviting us.

It’s been a really good year at Leeds GATE, We hope you’ll read about it in our Xmas Newsletter here.

Huge thanks to everyone who has played their part – too many to mention here. Best wishes to all for a lovely year to come.  We’ll be open again on Monday 5th.  See you in 2015!

Posted in GATE news, General News on December 12th, 2014

Dear Santa…An advocacy worker’s wishlist

We are all, I’m sure, currently writing Christmas lists for Santa. I thought I’d share my hopes for 2015 for Leeds GATE’s members and the wider Gypsy and Traveller community. They are a mix of goals we aim to achieve and things I simply hope will or won’t happen over the coming months. So, here goes, Dear Santa, please may I have the following… Read more

Posted in GATE news, Leeds GATE Blog on December 9th, 2014

Consultation on new definition of Travellers in Planning – A smokescreen?

Leeds GATE has now submitted its formal response to the Department for Communities and Local Government planning consultation for Gypsies and Travellers. You can read our submissions here and here

Aside from a significant change to the planning definition of the community itself, to ‘those who have a nomadic habit of life’, there are a number of technical changes, largely relating to obtaining permission within the greenbelt, that are being consulted on. The broad thrust is the Government feel, against all the available evidence, that applications for Gypsy and Traveller sites have favourable treatment over other applications. They conclude that changes are required to ‘ensure fairness’ and better protect the greenbelt largely through suggesting changes to the balance between accommodation need and harm. Examples include changing Planning Policy to explicitly state ‘very strictly limit new traveller sites in the open countryside’ and that ‘intentional unauthorised occupation’, however defined, should be weighed against granting permission.

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Posted in Leeds GATE Blog on December 9th, 2014

Political apathy – How to break the cycle?

As someone previously involved in formal politics I have often considered the ‘what came first’ question when it comes to voter apathy, particularly with respect to marginalised groups. That is, do we blame, or attribute, people not engaging in politics because nobody is appealing to them? Is it rather that politicians fail to appeal to those they do not feel are, or meaningfully could be, engaged? Are there other separate issues at play, such as information and confidence?

This question comes back to me as I prepare to meet some Parliamentary organisers seeking to get disaffected groups more involved in politics. With respect to Gypsies and Travellers, I would firmly argue that many of our members are often politically active, be it in a wider sense. However, I would also concede that involvement in formal politics, as seen in voter registration and even more so in political representation, is particularly low. It is also abundantly clear that the efforts of politicians at almost all levels, to interact with the community are very limited, and efforts to appeal to their interests even more absent. So what came first?

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Posted in Leeds GATE Blog on November 27th, 2014
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