We’re committed to delivering and supporting services which will improve
the Irish Traveller community’s quality of life in Belfast.
The Traveller community is the most disadvantaged community in Northern Ireland. Only five per cent of Travellers live to be 50 years old. Less than 10 per cent of adult Travellers have ever been in gainful employment. Most adult Travellers have a very low level of educational attainment and their children rarely complete their education.
Travellers are the only indigenous ethnic group protected by legislation (Race Relations (NI) Order 1997). Although this law affords them protection in the delivery of goods and services, they continue to suffer discrimination.
We have a long history of working with and lobbying on behalf of Belfast’s Traveller community.
In 2015 we supported a group of Traveller women to take part in a series of creative workshops with artist Carol Kane. The resulting publication 'thribli – keepsake narratives by Travellers' shares their memories of life on the road, education experiences, crafts, attitudes towards them, the importance of family, a move towards settled Travellers and how traditions are passed between generations.
It was launched at Belfast International Arts Festival.
In 2013, an interagency forum was established to look at how they can contribute to working more effectively with the Traveller community. The forum is made up of public sector and voluntary agencies in the greater Belfast area who are seeking to improve the services they provide to the Traveller community.
The forum focuses on practical, operational issues where collaborative action is possible, as well as seeking to inform and influence regional policy development.
The forum is currently building the capacity of Travellers from the Belfast area to respond to consultations relevant to Travellers and ethnic minorities.
If you’d like to find out more, call Israel Hontavilla, Traveller Liaison Officer, Community Services, on 028 9032 0202 ext 3527
or email firstname.lastname@example.org