Minutes of the South Somerset Gypsy and Traveller Forum Held on 10 October 2012 at Brympton Way Present. Officer






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Minutes of the South Somerset Gypsy and Traveller Forum Held on 10 October 2012 at Brympton Way


Councillor Jo Roundell Greene Jon Batty - Housing Policy and Performance Officer

Councillor Cathy Bakewell Councillor Paul Maxwell

Jo Morgan - Community Cohesion Officer Les Collett - Community Development Officer Tina Adams - Gypsy and Traveller Site and

Liaison Officer

Gabriel Munns – Mendip District Council Jenny Alvis – Mendip District Council Marilyn

Stella Arthur Hughes Snr

Emily McGuinness – Scrutiny Manager Colin Mike Toop – Devon and Somerset Fire and


Becky Britten – South Somerset Voluntary & Community Action

Steve Mason - People Can Martyn Ford - Somerset County Council

Julie Winrobe Lovey

Kay Pullen – Job Centre Plus Catherine Brennan – NHS Somerset Adrian Bromfield – Yeovil College

Apologies (Agenda Item 2)

Alison Cox - YMCA Homes Project Gwyneth Harwood – Children’s Society

Kevin Greenwood Lata Waters – People Can

Toni Lines - Avon and Somerset Constabulary Christian Wells - Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Mel Rowlands - Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Lee Walton – Planning Officer

Cassie Jones – Traveller Education Maggie Smith- Bendell – UK Association of Gypsy Women

Tracey Zimmerman – Yeovil College John Sanderson

Kelly Sanderson Henry Isaacs

Annie Crocker Malcolm Tipper – Somerset Skills and

Learning Minutes

Item Notes

1 Welcome and introductions


3 You said…… we did (Agenda Item 3) Actions from meeting 29 June 2012: You said – Invite Travellers Times (TT) to write an article of the Forum

We did - Mike Toop reported that as the Bridgwater Fair had been cancelled due to the weather, he had not been able to meet with TT.

Actions: 1

Person responsible:


Mike to contact Travellers Times and discuss the article on the Forum and report back at the next meeting

Mike Toop December 2012

You said – Attendance of new people to the Forum

It is important to include all Gypsies and Travellers, so try and encourage people to attend from the sites and offer a local Forum to the sites if they cannot attend

We did – Tina has been working closely with residents on the sites and a number have sent their apologies for today’s meeting. They hope to attend in December.

Tina is booking the bus to go to the sites and offer training opportunities. A site Forum meeting could be held at the same time.

Actions: 2

Person responsible:


Bus to be booked to go to the sites. Site Forum meeting to be arranged

Tina Adams December 2012

4 Training

Adrian from Yeovil College explained that Apprenticeships can be a positive way of learning in a work placement. Many different types of courses are available and some do not need the learner to attend College. Learners can begin their Apprenticeship at any time as they run on a ‘roll on, roll off’ basis.

Actions: 3

Person responsible:


The Forum requested information on Dog Grooming courses

Adrian and Jo Morgan


4.1 Somerset Skills and Learning were unable to attend the meeting, however have sent some information on Chainsaw and Hedgelaying courses to be included in the Minutes:

Regarding Chain Saw courses - Somerset Rural Training offer a variety of courses usually over 2 days. The cost is £90 per day plus £20 registration

More details from: www.somerset-training.com/trainin_course/nptc_chainsaw Tree Care Training Services are based in Bruton and offer a range of provision More details from: www.treecaretrainingservices.co.uk

4.2 DVD update

Jo Morgan and Jon Batty went to Yeovil College to meet with Steve Braddick from the Media Department at Yeovil College. Yeovil College are very positive about this project and look forward to students being involved in working with the Forum to make a documentary film. This will begin in the New Year.

Actions: 4

Person responsible:


Kelly to contact members of the Forum to begin planning who will be interviewed

Kelly December 2012

5 Health Inequalities

Emily explained the Government funded project that SSDC has been asked to run on issues around maternity and access to health within Gypsy and Traveller communities. Some statistics show that there is a higher level of miscarriages, stillbirths and lower take up of neo-natal care and breast feeding from Gypsies and Travellers.

It has been suggested that a free ‘app’ for ‘Smartphones’ could provide important maternity and post pregnancy healthcare information.

Councillors Bakewell and Maxwell are involved in this project and were keen to find out the views of the Forum.

Views and Comments:

 Within South Somerset we have a Gypsy site Liaison Manager who works with Health Visitors and residents on sites

 There is good health care with residents on sites and within the settled community, everyone is registered with a GP

 It is easy to get pre and post-natal care

 The project needs to distinguish between Romany Gypsies and Irish/ Travellers

 Some Travellers may have different views on pregnancy and maternity

 It is a myth that women are unhealthy and drink and smoke too much, having children is a gift and it is important to be healthy

 Transient Travellers are aware of current health care services and points of crisis


 Being moved on all the time can affect people’s mental and emotional health

 Issues for accessing health care often rest on whether groups are allowed to stay in an area through choice or because of work

 Not everyone can read and some people find Smartphones difficult to access 6 Becky Britten - South Somerset Association for Voluntary and Community Action


Becky explained how SSVCA can provide support and assistance to groups wanting to set up projects, activities or setting up as an Association. An Association could form and apply for small grants e.g. play equipment for sites, specific training courses

Becky described a supported Volunteer Mentor Scheme that people could become involved in. This is a great way to gain work experience as well as a qualification and reference. Tina shared her experience of starting out as a volunteer with the Somerset Racial Equality Council and that led to her gaining permanent employment with the district Council.

Actions: 5

Person responsible:


Find out information on other Gypsy and Traveller Groups and Associations

Becky Britten December 2012

7 Employment – Kay Pullen Job centre Plus

Kay from the Job Centre Plus 18-24 Team, described the different opportunities available from her service area. The Team provides support to people in gaining employment and helps to overcome skills barriers.

A Job Seeker Project allocates an individual Case Worker to support people through an action plan.

The Yeovil office has 4 computers that are available and people can use them to apply for benefits, apply for jobs, and write CVs. Full support is available. There is also access to the Job Centre online


There are opportunities for people to undertake an 8 week work experience placement without losing benefits.

Maths and English support is available every Wednesday in the office Questions and Comments

 The main problem particularly for Romany Gypsies is that of prejudice and discrimination

 Once a potential employer knows a particular surname it is difficult to get a job as they make assumptions

 A Forum member described how she had worked in the same job for the last 10 years but was made redundant and has struggled to find another job because of discrimination


 Councillor Bakewell noted her concerns in relation to the negative experiences of Forum members

 It was pointed out that many Gypsies do not wish to claim benefits, preferring to work and pay their taxes. This means that no support or assistance is available from Job Centre Plus as they can only work with people claiming benefits. This was seen by the Forum as a gap in the system.

Actions: 6

Person responsible:


Arrange for an Independent Advice and Guidance worker to attend the next Forum to explain what help is available to those who do not wish to claim benefits but need support in gaining employment or training

Jo Morgan December 2012

8 Update from Gypsy Site and Liason Officer – Tina Adams

Tina informed the Forum of First Aid training courses being offered to Gypsy and Traveller communities. The course covers basic emergency first Aid such as CPR, dealing with burns, what to do if a baby stops breathing etc. Tina is arranging to take this training to the sites using the bus. There was a positive response from the Forum who thought it was vey useful.

Swamp fever has been identified in Cornwall, Tina handed out leaflets to explain what to do.

The RSPCA have formed a good local links with the local Gypsy and Traveller

communities. The RSPCA can provide animal care – vaccinate and worm dogs and horses for a donation.

The Forum were informed about the changes to Council Tax Benefit and Tina is available to advise anyone who is affected.

Actions: 7

Person responsible:


Forum to be used to explain any key changes to Welfare Benefits e.g. Council Tax Support Scheme, Universal Credit

Specialist officers to be invited to the Forum as relevant

Tina Adams As relevant

9 Any Other Business


monoxide detectors to those residents living on private sites and to Travelling Showpeople.

 Martin informed the Forum that the list of County Council land is not currently

available. However, if anyone identifies a piece of Council land they can ask County whether it is available or not.

 New enforcement law was discussed. Failure to comply with a Stop notice could result in a £20,000 fine

 Question was asked as to how often our sites are visited by Tina. The sites are visited 3 – 4 times per week.



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