What advice would you give?
Data is a problem for lots of young people so make sure you have enough resources to buy data cards etc.
Sometimes it’s more effective to treat a serious subject with a little humour – it’s important to have fun even if the topic isn’t.
Sometimes it isn’t easy for young Gypsies and Travellers to get together in a safe space to talk freely – this sometimes is as important as making the ’work’ – allow lots of time for the young people just to talk – it’s all really valuable.
When working with older young people, especially if they are living independently, remember they often have commitments to family, caution and work so be flexible and work with them to found out how the project is going to help them in the future.
How did you include people?
This was an older group so we were able to do residential workshops. We were able to work in smaller groups and online to give the most flexibility to fit in with family, education work etc.
We worked with the group to co-design the project from beginning to end so we were sure that what we were doing was what they wanted and needed. We would work on ideas, present back some options, discuss the best and worst of each plan and come up with solutions and compromises together.
We are able to offer travel, food and equipment bursaries so everyone could take part no matter what their situation.
For some younger participants we ran intergenerational workshops so parents could get involved too.
What did you enjoy?
“I loved being in space where I could be myself, learn something that was actually going to be useful and have a lot of fun meeting other people” Luke 22
“I couldn’t believe that were being asked what we wanted and needed rather than being told, the TT Team spoke to us about every part of it, they told us what would be possible and what wouldn’t, they let us discuss different options – pros & cons and helped us decide. It felt like we made the rules and the plans together and that the project really belonged to us ” Shannon 19
“ I really wanted to take part but I’m only 13 and it was staying away from home and I’m not allowed so they ran a weekend workshop for younger teenagers and their parents and we learnt together and was really funny and we learnt loads – although I have to show my Mum how to do it she’s hopeless” Jade 13
“I NEVER spend any time with other Gypsies and Travellers outside my family, I loved that we were able to be ourselves and no one rushed us and the whole team had time to go over stuff again when we went ‘off topic’ – all learning should be done this way, much better than at school – I leant stuff and I didn’t even know it!!” Johnson 21
You can watch what some of the young people had to say after the first weekend here:
What did you find out?We found out young Gypsies and Travellers felt overwhelmed with negative comments on the internet – from negative racist comments to ‘shaming and judging’ sites from within their own communities. The young people we spoke with wanted to know how to make really good Vlogs, create some positive role models and have some fun! Many didn’t feel that the internet was a place they belonged and that they were missing out on ‘normal’ life.
What do you want to change?We wanted to make lots of positive content to give a different side of the story and help our young people feel good about themselves but in a way that was safe for them to do so. We wanted to make sure the young people and their parents felt confident that were going to be safe online.
What do you recommend?We gave lots and lots of time for planning and also got some other people to come and talk our young people about being kind online and how cope with online hate, bullying and seeing other negative things. We also found that although our young people liked watching Vlogs not many of them felt confident to be in front of the camera so we spent lots of time building confidence but also showing how you could still tell your own story but use avatars, photos and other creative things.
What has changed?Since completing the workshops the young Vloggers have been inspired to set up their own activism group. They have supported each other and produced their own Vlogs addressing everything from LGBT issues, cultural appropriation, challenging programmes like the recent C4 documentary ‘The Truth About Traveller Crime’ to videos about hair, makeup and identity. One young person felt confident enough to start a University Course and another has become interested in standing as a local counsellor with ambitions to become and MP.