The largest number of Roma, Gypsy and Traveller participants in any national survey to date were reached by six Roma and Traveller researchers being employed and trained in research techniques to go out and record responses from community members.
The figures were recorded as part of the Evidence for Equality National Survey (Evens) of ethnic and religious minorities.
Prof Nissa Finney, who led the project, said: “Evens allows us to compare the pandemic experiences of Roma and Traveller people to other ethnic groups, which hasn’t been possible before now. The disadvantage that we’ve found with the data is striking.
“Rigorous, robust, reliable data like that in Evens is essential for designing appropriate and effective policies and interventions. There’s still work to do to improve data and data collection – marginalised communities can be mistrustful of research and of its ability to bring change.
“A clear message from our study is the need for political commitment to better monitoring and measurement of the full range of ethnic groups. This is how we’ll make visible in evidence and policy those people who have been invisible.”
The study was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and undertaken by the Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity, in collaboration with community groups and charities.
Members of the Salford Irish Traveller community, Salford Children’s Services and Salford Community Leisure took part in a three year project to build a traditional Bill Wright-style Bow Top Gypsy wagon.
They worked with a local Irish Traveller master craftsman, learning traditional skills of wagon making which have been passed down over many decades. They also learnt about the lifestyle, culture and traditions of life and survival on the road.
This project enabled over 20 young Travellers and non-Travellers to work together and learn from each other, exploring a unique minority heritage which is often misunderstood and maligned.
The accompanying educational exhibition and activity programme explores themes such as traditions, culture, heritage and identity and why these things are so important in all our lives.