RESIDENTS, businesses and organisations wanting to help shape a new strategy aimed at improving the lives of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in Cornwall have until April 26 to give their views. 

According to the census, about 80 per cent of those that identify as Gypsy or Irish Traveller and Roma in Cornwall live in bricks and mortar types of homes. 

Although race is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, Traveller communities can also be subject to harassment and victimisation. A national survey carried out by Traveller Movement found that 91 per cent of respondents had experienced discrimination and 77 per cent had experienced hate speech or a hate crime.

 A 12-week consultation on the draft Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Strategy was launched by Cornwall Council at the end of January. The council is keen to hear from as many people as possible before the consultation ends.

Carol Mould, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for neighbourhoods, said: “The Council has a legal duty to ensure that Cornwall’s Gypsy, Roma and Traveller residents have equal access to services and facilities and are treated in the same way as the wider population.  

“However, as numerous reports have shown, these communities often find it more difficult to obtain employment and access health and social care, housing, education and other public services. This has led to significantly worse health and living outcomes for these residents.”  

The Council – through Cornwall Housing - currently manages three residential Gypsy and Traveller sites – Boscarn Parc (32 pitches), Wheal Jewel (24 pitches) and Foredown Parc (10 pitches) - and the South Treviddo transit site (15 pitches), as well as providing a range of other Gypsy, Roma and Traveller services. There are also a number of private residential sites across Cornwall.  

The draft strategy, which will cover a five-year period, has been developed in consultation with a range of Cornwall Council services, including education, regulatory services, public health, and the Council’s neighbourhoods and housing teams. The project team have also liaised with a number of external partners, including TravellerSpace, GPs, midwives, professionals working with Gypsies and Travellers, NHS, Devon and Cornwall Police and Safer Cornwall.  

Councillor Mould said: “We want everyone to feel safe and a part of their local community and are committed to addressing these inequalities by transforming Gypsy and Traveller provision in Cornwall. 

 “We have been working with partners to better understand the needs of Gypsy and Traveller communities across Cornwall. This has resulted in the development of the draft strategy which will provide a cohesive and joined up approach for supporting and facilitating opportunities for Gypsies and Travellers in their daily lives and we want to hear the views of all sections of our community on the plans."