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Green Spaces Project of the Month

December 2004 - Cottingley Springs Gipsy and Traveller Site

Contact Gareth Self, Gypsy Services Communications Support Officer, on 0113 247 5493 or email gareth.self@leeds.gov.uk

Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers are among the oldest ethnic communities in Britain and the most disadvantaged. Many Gypsies and Travellers lack adequate accommodation and where sites exist, they are associated with many problems. This example of a Gypsy and Traveller site in Leeds illustrates the difficulties faced by this community in trying to improve the environment in which they live. Residents of Cottingley Springs site have begun planting gardens and are planning to improve the appearance of the entrance to their site and to create an attractive play area for their children. But lack of capacity within the community itself and the supportive voluntary sector, coupled with reticence on the part of the local authority and other mainstream agencies, combines to hinder their progress. BEN held a focus group with residents of Cottingley to try to find out how the Travellers could work together with others to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. In this article and the linked focus group report, residents and workers share their views on the ways forward.

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