On Thursday 25 January 2018, the Centre for BME Health in partnership with the Leicester GATE Project (Gypsy and Traveller Equality), a grass root social enterprise project, held an event with members and representatives of the local Gypsy, Roma and Travellers communities.
The session was held at the Brite Centre, Leicester and was well attended by individuals from the Gypsy and Travellers community who had an opportunity to share their ideas on health and wellbeing support that they would like to access. There was also discussions around health needs of the community and aspirations that might address them in order to tackle their health inequalities, as well as future community led research initiatives.
The aim of the event was to also help establish some positive actions that could be taken forward by the Centre and the wider research teams to try and help address some of these concerns.
Poor access to, and uptake of, health services were highlighted as a major factor in Gypsy and Traveller health, including a low uptake of preventative and screening interventions, especially for women and children programmes.
Individuals at the event repeatedly expressed their concerns about diabetes and other preventable conditions, and indicated a very limited knowledge of risk factors or implications amongst community members. Low levels of literacy, cultural health beliefs, and poor access to health information were also identified as the main barriers in seeking treatment and underestimating the seriousness of the condition.
Following on from, the Centre is delighted to announce that it has been awarded a small grant from The Wellcome Trust to carry out further work with the Gypsy, Romany and Travellers community and also help to support community led interventions.