Throughout all our work, we challenge the discrimination Gypsies and Travellers routinely experience. There are day-to-day cases – in the media, politics, decision-making and popular culture – of the community being misrepresented and maligned. Through campaigning, private discussions, official complaints and working with the media, we aim to address this – when members of the community often feel powerless to do so themselves.
When I’m married I want my children to have the same lifestyle I have. But if the new planning law comes in they won’t. The law doesn’t make sense because I am a Traveller if I travel around or don’t travel. I’m still a Traveller up or down. I’ll always be a Traveller. It’s my culture.
Promoting equality, inclusion and rights
We aim to strengthen the voice of London’s Gypsies and Travellers, helping them gain the recognition, inclusion and equality which are their human rights. We do this through community-led campaigns and policy work, working with decision-makers in London and nationally to ensure the voice of Gypsies and Travellers is heard.
We work with parliamentary groups and lobby politicians. London and national elections have provided the opportunity for LGT to put forward demands and recommendations on accommodation, employment, health and education. For example, in 2016 we put together a London Gypsy and Traveller manifesto for the London mayoral election.
We work with the community to encourage their involvement in elections and campaigning. In particular, we encourage participation in the London Gypsy and Traveller Forum – an open meeting of community activists, support organisations, professionals and elected representatives held every quarter at London City Hall. Here Gypsies and Travellers can discuss the issues of concern to them and make their opinions known to decision-makers.
Our “We still count” campaign started in October 2014, responding to government proposals for a new definition of Gypsies and Travellers for planning purposes. The changes will make it virtually impossible to gain planning permission for sites, or for Gypsies and Travellers to be included in local councils’ development plans – meaning even fewer sites in years to come.
Using short films, social media and a post card campaign, we mobilised community members to have their say in the government’s consultation. In 2015 we joined a wider coalition of groups campaigning against the Housing and Planning Bill. We have produced submissions to government and have been in continued dialogue with influencers, seeking to challenge the negative impact of these changes.