Gypsy and Traveller Communities in Scotland: Including, Supporting, Planning

Gypsy and Traveller communities face many challenges and barriers to accessing services and participating in society. This event will celebrate the unique diversity of Gypsy and Traveller cultures and explore how organisations across Scotland can ensure communities are included and welcomed.

The context

In the past few months the Scottish Government has published a series of new documents which aim to improve wellbeing and opportunities for Gypsy and Traveller communities. This includes:

  • ‘Guidance for Local Authorities on Managing Unauthorised Camping by Gypsy/Travellers in Scotland’
  • ‘Guidance to Local Authorities on the Licensing System for Mobile Homes Sites With Permanent Residents’
  • A consultation on ‘Improving educational outcomes for children and young people from travelling cultures’.

The publications recognise that Gypsies and Travellers are among the most disenfranchised and discriminated against in Scotland and face many challenges and barriers to accessing services and participating in society. The publications are based upon considerable engagement with stakeholders and Gypsies and Travellers across Scotland.

The event

We will look at how organisations across Scotland can take a human rights approach and embed the requirements of these documents, and other guidance such as the 2015 ‘Guidance on minimum site standards, and site tenants’ core rights and responsibilities’ into practice. In doing so we will highlight some of the good work already taking place across the country.

Key issues to be addressed

  • Gypsy and Traveller cultures and lived experiences
  • Improving and maintaining permanent sites
  • Managing unauthorised sites
  • Access and inclusion in health and education
  • Developing financial capacity


09:15    Registration and Networking

09:55 Session 1: Gypsy and Traveller communities in Scotland

Gypsies and Travellers have a rich, diverse and proud culture and heritage. In this opening session we will celebrate their unique way of life and consider the challenges faced by the communities.

09:55    Opening Remarks from the Chair

Kate Connor, Kate Connor Consultancy​

10:00    A Celebration of Gypsy and Traveller cultures

Jess Smith, Storyteller and Author

10:20    Interactive Session: The Lived Experience of Gypsies and Travellers in Scotland

This session will feature two presentations, followed by a Q&A session facilitated by Lynne Tammi, CEO, Article 12 in Scotland

A Young Person’s View of Life As A Gypsy/Traveller in Contemporary Scotland

  • Following an introduction to the history of the community in Scotland David discusses family life spent on the road in the summer months and the challenges of accessing  education and other services

David Donaldson, Volunteer, Article 12 in Scotland

Introduction to Travellers' Times: Past, Present and Future

  • Representation of Gypsies and Travellers in the Media
  • Introduction to and screening of the short film: Oldest Show on the Road 

Nic Millington, Chief Executive, Traveller Times

Panel discussion will include the speakers above, as well as: 

Michael Molden, YGTL Co-ordinator, Article 12 in Scotland 
Professor Colin Clark, Professor of Sociology and Social Policy, University of the West of Scotland 

11:10    Refreshments and Networking

11:25 Session 2: Planning

Good planning is essential for ensuring the accessibility of housing, health, employment, education and other public services however Gypsy and Traveller communities find that the planning system does not always reflect their needs. This session will explore how the local authorities can work with Gypsy and Traveller communities and meet their planning requirements. 

11:25    The Gypsy/Traveller Community and the Planning System

  • The Impacts of Land Use Planning on Gypsy/Traveller Culture
  • The Legislative and Policy Framework
  • Planning Material Considerations 
  • Creating an Better Understanding of the Planning Process to improve proper planning practice

Alan Seath​, Volunteer and Associate, PAS

11:45    Improving and Maintaining Sites

12:05    Managing Unauthorised Camping and Engaging with the Gypsy/Travelling Community

  • Engaging with gypsy/travelling community in the Scottish Borders
  • The approach by Scottish Borders Council and its partners to manage unauthorised camping
  • Some thoughts on improvements to this approach

Douglas Scott, Senior Policy Adviser, Scottish Borders Council

12:25    Questions and Discussion

12:45    Lunch and Networking

13:30 Session 3: Inclusion

This final session will consider how we can address some of the barriers faced by Gypsies and Travellers accessing services and ensure they can get the support they are entitled to.

13:30    Engaging in education

  • Challenges faced by Gypsies and Travellers engaging in education
  • Scotland’s draft Strategy on Improving educational outcomes for children and young people from travelling cultures
  • What services can do to support Gypsies and Travellers to get the most from their education
  • Resources and support that STEP can provide
  • TENET 

Maureen Finn, Director, STEP: Centre for Mobile Cultures and Education

13:50    Understanding and Trusting Each Other In Partnerships and Practice

  • We will learn more about the work with partners and Gypsy Travellers community in Fife.

Dianne Williamson, Lead for Equality and Human Rights, NHS Fife

Accessing Health Services

  • The presentation will discuss the health outcomes of Gypsies and Travellers, the barriers they experience when accessing health services and their needs, rights and entitlements to health care.  

Kelly Muir, Senior Health Improvement Officer, NHS Health Scotland

14:10    Questions and Discussion

14:25    Closing Remarks from the Chair

14:30    Close of Event

*Agenda subject to change


 COSLA, Verity House, 19 Haymarket Yards, Edinburgh, EH12 5BH


Delegate Rates (excluding VAT)

  • Discounted rate: £145 (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Reduced rate: 1 place £245 | 2+ places £195 (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Full rate: 1 place £295 | 2+ places £245 (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please email or phone 0131 285 1635

19 September 2017
United Kingdom

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