Gypsy and Traveller Youth Inclusion
From its inception in 2003, Leeds GATE, formed by members of the Gypsy and Irish Traveller communities has been working to improve the overall quality of life for these communities. To this day, and in line with our governing document, the majority of the members on the Executive Board are from the Gypsy and Irish Traveller communities.
From our formation in 2003 up to 2008, Leeds GATE was a registered charity, and many of our services were delivered through funded support, including Irish Government Funding and Comic Relief. With the changing environment for Voluntary and Community Organisations, resulting in more government funding being issued as Service Level Agreements and contracts, the decision was taken to change the legal status of Leeds GATE and on 23rd July 2008, we became a Company Limited by Guarantee with Charitable status.
‘The average life expectancy for Gypsies and Irish Travellers in Leeds is about 50 years of age, compared to the settled population of Leeds which is around 78 years’. (Leeds Racial Equality Council, 2005)
Gypsy and Irish Traveller communities experience some of the poorest health outcomes.
- We offer a strategic health improvement service which informs local and national policy
- We provide an advocacy service that supports people in accessing and utilising primary and secondary health services such as doctors and dentists
- We inform and support health practitioners in developing cultural competence and engagement skills
- We engage in health consultations locally and nationally and campaign for the best possible outcomes for Gypsy and Irish Travellers
- We co-ordinate the partnership group that meets every quarter and works to meet the needs of community members, the partnership group feeds into Healthy Leeds Strategy Group
- We are currently piloting a GP drop in service every Thursday afternoon at GATEs office
- We run a Community Health Educators Scheme that runs annually over 8 weeks and encourages community members to better manage their own health
- We have a functioning health committee made up of community members
- We have been funded by the NHS to carry out a Health Needs Assessment that will provide up to date, accurate information regarding the health status of Gypsies and Irish Travellers in Leeds
- Leeds GATE holds a contract with the Embassy of Ireland and Children’s Services (Leeds City Council) in relation to young people Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET)
- Working with young people around issues of social exclusion and access to mainstream activities
- Working with local partners (Eg Youth Service) to increase participation and improve service delivery to young Gypsy/ Irish Traveller people
- We have a functioning youth committee and will continue to develop their capacity to apply for project funding
- We offer weekly activities to young people Gypsy/ Irish Traveller people such as swimming, gardening and group work
- We offer advocacy support to young people and provide a safe space for them to access the internet and other resources