by Ethos public relations
Evictions have long been a feature of traveller life but the eviction at Dale Farm has attracted media attention on a scale previously unseen.
“The Dale Farm story perfectly highlights the tensions between Gypsy and Traveller communities and the rest of the population,” said Chloe Weatherhead, Head of The Housing e-Academy, part of Virtual College with over 600,000 learners.
“It has raised the issues faced by this particular community like none other - and has divided opinion right across the country. This story comes on the back of the TV series My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding which many claim has also enforced negative perceptions about the Gypsy and Traveller culture.
“The housing sector prides itself on being professional and so it is important we are not using out-dated stereotypes which fail to grasp the big picture and to ensure we are fully aware of the issues facing these communities.”
Chloe believes that changes to planning legislation mean we could see more stories like this - albeit on a smaller scale. It is likely that social landlords could be involved and so it is vital that frontline staff have some knowledge of the communities they are working with.
She said: “Housing staff could be called on to play ‘enforcer’ as they deal with issues around anti-social behaviour or ‘social worker’ as they help to reduce discrimination or embed any support initiatives that are introduced.
It is with this in mind that The Housing e-Academy has worked in conjunction with Leeds Gypsy and Traveller Exchange (GATE) to develop a new e-learning course to objectively outline the past, current and present issues faced by Gypsies and Irish Travellers in the UK. It examines how negative situations for this community can be challenged and looks to the future to reduce prejudice and discrimination.
“Prejudice against Gypsy and Traveller communities continues to run deep,” said Chloe. “Housing professionals should ensure they are leaders in breaking down barriers and helping to erase this prejudice.”
Understanding Gypsy & Irish Traveller Identity in Society is due for release October 2011. For more information contact a member of the team on 01943 885085 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read other news from Housing e-Academy click here.
Posted at 5th October 2011
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