Safe Homes for Scotland's Gypsy/Traveller Communities

Everyone has a fundamental human right to a safe, secure, habitable, and affordable home. However, concerns have been raised about the quality of the sites available to Scotland’s Gypsy/Traveller communities. This event will explore the actions we can take to ensure that the communities have safe and secure places to stay, which respect their culture and traditions.

Improving the Lives of Scotland’s Gypsy/Travellers

“It is fair to say that there has been plenty of talk but insufficient action. We have made some progress, but it has been patchy and inconsistent—to be frank, it has quite simply not been good enough […] I put on record the Scottish Government’s clear and unwavering commitment to improving the lives of Gypsy/Travellers.”
Angela Constance MSP, Former Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, (Scottish Parliament 12 June 2018)

The past year has seen a movement to address many of the challenges facing Scotland’s Gypsy/Traveller communities. The Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities has established a Ministerial Working Group that will take action to improve the lives of Gypsy/Traveller communities across a range of issues. 

The first meeting of the Ministerial Working Group in February 2018 focused on housing. A progress report, Improving Gypsy/Traveller Sites – Guidance on minimum sites standards, and site tenants’ core rights and responsibilities, published in May 2018 made it clear that whilst progress has been made there is a need for further improvement. 

Key issues we’ll examine with you

  • Progress so far on improving the lives of Scotland’s Gypsy/Traveller communities
  • Next steps for meeting – and exceeding – the minimum sites standards
  • Using co-production to engage with and shape services for Scotland’s Gypsy/Traveller communities
  • Supporting safe communities by tackling stigma
  • Innovative approaches to creating safe and secure homes for Scotland’s Gypsy/Travellers

Who should attend?

The event will be of interest to housing officers, planning officers, environmental health professionals, traveller site managers and all those working to improve the lives of Scotland’s Gypsy/Travellers.

Confirmed speakers

  • KEYNOTE: Christina McKelvie MSP, Minister for Older People and Equalities, Scottish Government
  • Councillor Elena Whitham, Community Wellbeing Spokesperson, COSLA
  • The Gypsy/Traveller Youth Assembly, Article 12
  • Alan Seath, Owner, Alan Seath Planning Consultancy
  • Petra Biberbach, Chief Executive, PAS
  • George Walker, Chair, Scottish Housing Regulator
  • Callum Ogden, Project Manager (Gypsy/Traveller Carers' Project), MECOPP

 

Agenda

09:15 Registration and refreshments

10:00 Opening remarks from the chair

Morag Alexander OBE, Chair, ELCAP; Co-Chair, Scottish Commission on Older Women; Former Commissioner, Equality and Human Rights Commission; Former Director, Equal Opportunities Commission; Former Convener, SSSC

Session 1: Scotland’s Gypsy/Traveller Communities’ Accommodation Needs

10:05 Scottish Government Address: Improving the lives of Scotland’s Gypsy Travellers

  • The creation of the Ministerial Working Group (MWG) earlier this year signals a concerted effort across the Scottish Government to accelerate improvements for Gypsy/Travellers.
  • The MWG includes ministers with responsibility for accommodation, education, employability and health, it is clear that safe homes are key to making improvements in other areas of life.
  • As Chair of the MWG, the Minister will update the conference on progress so far, and future plans. 

Christina McKelvie MSP, Minister for Older People and Equalities, Scottish Government

10:15 Improving the Lives of Scotland's Gypsy Travellers - Priorities for Local Government

Local Government is committed to improving the lives of Scotland’s Gypsy/Travellers. Cllr Whitham will outline political priorities agreed by COSLA’s Community Wellbeing Board in order to deliver better housing/accommodation experiences for the community.

Councillor Elena Whitham, Community Wellbeing Spokesperson, COSLA

10:25 Questions to the Minister and Councillor Whitham

10:40 Interactive session: Homes for the Gypsy/Travellers

  • The lived experience of sites and stopping places
  • The importance of thinking about not just permanent sites but also stopping places and semi-permanent accommodation needs
  • Engagement with Gypsy/Travellers around planning decisions and required accommodation
  • Good practice of engagement with Gypsy/Traveller communities

Shannon MacDonald, The Gypsy/Traveller Youth Assembly, Article 12
Martha McPhee, The Gypsy/Traveller Youth Assembly, Article 12
Charlotte Donaldson, The Gypsy/Traveller Youth Assembly, Article 12
David Donaldson, The Gypsy/Traveller Youth Assembly, Article 12

11:25 Refreshments

Session 2: Shaping Home Around the People

11:45 Safeguarding and Promoting the Interests of Gypsy/Travellers in Scotland

SHR is publishing an important piece of work on whether social landlords who provide Gypsy/Traveller sites have achieved the new minimum site standards. SHR George Walker will outline the findings to delegates. 

George Walker, Chair, Scottish Housing Regulator

12:00 Facilitating Community Dialogue

  • Ensuring all voices are heard in the planning system
  • Facilitating dialogue within and between communities
  • Delivering the right homes in the right places

Petra Biberbach, Chief Executive, PAS

12:20 Questions and Discussions

12:35 Lunch

Session 3: A Positive Safe Future

13:30 Safe Homes: Addressing the Stigma

What does it take to make a place feel like a home, and what impact can stigma, prejudice, and discrimination have on this? MECOPP presents a series of short video interviews with members of the Gypsy/Traveller community in Scotland who reflect on what home means to them, how their experiences of stigma, prejudice, and discrimination have shaped their views, and the broader impact this has had in their lives.

Callum Ogden, Project Manager (Gypsy/Traveller Carers' Project), MECOPP

13:50 Designing and Planning for Inclusion: Challenges, Frustrations and Opportunities

  • The challenges created by planning policy
  • The frustrations with the lack of knowledge about the subject
  • The opportunities being created by the Scottish Government

Alan Seath, Owner, Seath Planning Consultancy Ltd.

14:10 Questions and discussion

14:25 Reflections on the future from the Gypsy/Travellers

The Gypsy/Traveller Youth Assembly, Article 12

14:35 Close of event

 

Venue

NASUWT, 35 Young Street N. Ln, Edinburgh EH2 4JD | Map

Costs

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

For more information please email enquiries@holyrood.com or phone 0131 285 1635

Dates
23 October 2018

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