Building bridges: shifting sands: Changing community development strategies in the gypsy and traveller voluntary sector

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Friends Families and Travellers


It has been said that Gypsies are ‘the people who live outside history’ (Fonseca: 2006). This may seem an odd statement – given the impact of history particularly on European Roma – and the current article does not take such an ahistorical approach, Rather, by using case studies of two organisations, The Irish Traveller Movement in Britain (ITMB) and Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT), it places community and voluntary sector development within the Gypsy and Traveller community in a wider policy and practice context. In doing so it explores the role of both organisations in ‘building bridges’ – within and between communities, between Gypsies, Travellers and ‘mainstream’ services and between these communities and the policy making process.
Bridge building has, however, taken place in the ‘shifting sands’ of political and economic change. This applies at two levels. Over the last two decades, commentators have noted substantial intra-community ‘shifts’: the collapse of the traditional Traveller economy, but also higher (though still limited) levels of educational attainment and a debate within the community about gender roles. At a macro-political level, following the banking crisis of 2008, there has been retrenchment with cuts to local authority budgets and with austerity some would say a dilution in commitments to equalities agendas (CLES 2012) .


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHearing the Voices of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities
Subtitle of host publicationInclusive Community Development
EditorsAndrew Ryder
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2014


  • Community Development, Gypsy Traveller , Roma