Leeds & West Yorkshire

Gypsy and Traveller Project reach 'settled community'

A Bradford Gypsy and Traveller Project is working to break down barriers and give an insight into the travelling community.

Romany Gypsy Violet Cannon works on "awareness training" with the project which is based at the Thornbury Centre.

She sees communication as vital because some of the older Gypsy travellers cannot read or write.

Mrs Cannon said: "People say we are hard to reach but my opinion is we are easy to forget."

She said the project worked to break down barriers on both sides between her community and the "settled community".

'Only human'

"It needs someone to break down the barriers and make people realise we are only human," she added.

"Not everyone you see gathering scraps and rags is a Gypsy."

She also said there was good and bad in each community and she was appalled when people left rubbish about.

She said: "Barriers are definitely breaking down but there is a lot of work to be done yet."

Violet and her daughter, also called Violet Cannon, will be talking about her community's life and culture to members of St Margaret's Church, in Bradford on Wednesday 4 May at 1200 BST.

The meeting will take place in the Thornbury Centre close to the church.

Father Nicholas Clews, the parish priest, said: "The settled community often becomes aware of traveller people only when there is a conflict of lifestyles.

"I began to realise that the situation was much more complex than this when I took a traveller funeral.

"I became aware of a network of relationships and cultural practices very different from my own."

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