One Voice - Connect. Keep Learning

One Voice for Travellers enables women, children and young people from the Gypsy and Traveller communities in East Anglia to have a voice, and to find low cost but highly effective ways to empower their communities to reduce violence as well as support positive health decisions. The Gypsy and Traveller community set out a need for a project that supported the women's health and wellbeing needs. This need was obvious based on their feedback on questionnaires of feeling excluded, isolated and lacking confidence to access services.

Forming local partnerships that were trusted was key, and staff from One Voice for Travellers ensured they gained the trust and confidence of some of the local community by listening to their frustrations and needs. These key members of the community became volunteers to help promote the project further, and ensure a wider group became interested and involved. The group of women expressed an interest in learning about baby first aid and basic first aid such as how to help with heart attacks, diabetes and asthma. Other areas of interest were breast awareness for cancer, healthy eating and mental health.

The initial group of local volunteers helped ensure that any training given to the community was culturally sensitive. Volunteers acted as advocates for other members of their community, which increased confidence on both sides, particularly enabling people who could not read or write to access information they needed.

This project has taken a year to set up and required intense work to establish strong relationships with the community and to harness the support of individuals to become volunteers. But time has been very well spent: it has changed people's and families' lives for the better and enabled them to deal with different and sometimes difficult situations.

Unabridged version: One Voice for Travellers

15 September 2011

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