Roma Support Group Oral History Project Co-ordinator Tania Gessi has had an article published in a recent (27th January 2020) issue of the newspaper Jewish News.
Entitled "Roma and Sinti voices silent for too long" it appears on page 43 of issue number 1142. Read it here.
See our 'Roma Stories' page for further information about our Oral History Project
It is with great sadness that we say farewell to our friend and colleague Andy Shallice who passed away on 14th December, 2019. He worked for the Roma Support Group as the Policy and Information Worker, joining us in 2013. We have lost a great, passionate advocate for Roma rights and social justice. He will be missed by all of us.
We have put together a tribute to Andy's work.
At his funeral, in memory of Andy, "The Manchester Rambler" was sung. Andy's family have kindly allowed us to share a recording of the singing by those who attended.
(Click back button in your browser to return to the RSG site).
"Roma Stories" Project's work collecting wartime testimonies of Roma people is mentioned on BBC World News
The BBC World Service's World Update programme broadcast on 18th November included a feature on the Nazi genocide of Roma and Sinti people in an interview with Senior Curator of the Wiener Holocaust Library, Barbara Warnock. She speaks about the work being done by the Roma Support Group's "Roma Stories" Oral History Project in collecting testimonies of Roma people's experiences in the wartime concentration camps.
The Roma Support Group is pleased to invite you to 21st Annual General Meeting:
If you would like to join us please e-mail your name and contact details to email@example.com in order to confirm your place on the participants' list.
Please confirm your attendance by Wednesday 20th November.
5.00 pm - Registration – Networking – Refreshments
5.30 pm - Street /Gang Violence Awareness Workshop delivered by Derek Akosah CEO, Be Heard As One
6.00 pm - Housing Rights Workshop delivered Tower Hamlets Law Centre
6.30 pm - Forum Theatre
7.10 pm - Safe Newham – Hate Crime Reporting Project
7.20 pm - Jack Petchey Foundation's Awards
7.40 pm - ‘Roma Stories’, Oral History Project Exhibition and Film
8.00 pm - BREAK
8.15 pm - AGM Business:
9:30 pm - THE END
Venue detail and travel information
Woodgrange Community Centre, Bluebell Avenue, Manor Park, London E12 6UJ
Nearest Tube – East Ham Nearest Overground - Manor Park and Woodgrange Park
Google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/Wvm8hkKZbqgcNDEm8
Our 'Roma Stories' Oral History exhibition will be at the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) from 28th October to 1st November. There will be launch events on Monday 18th November at 3pm at the LMA and on Tuesday 26th November at the Wiener Library.
The exhibition will appear at the following venues in Autumn 2019:
Print out copies of our exhibition poster here (pdf file). See the poster below.
For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This short film contains extracts of Roma people's interviews that explore life before the Second World War, persecution during the war, discrimination in home country, migration and life in the UK. The film is part of the touring exhibition.
When? - Thursday 14 November 2019, 5.15-7.15pm
Where? - Laws Building Room 1.00, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Campus, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS
All welcome, no need to book
Speakers: Tania Gessi and Ted Sale, Roma Stories Oral History Project
Respondents: Graham Smith (Newcastle University), Becky Taylor (University of East Anglia), Julia Laite (Birkbeck)
Chair: Nadia Valman, Raphael Samuel History Centre
The HLF-funded ‘Roma Stories’ Oral History Project shares experiences and stories of Roma people from Eastern and Central Europe who live in London. A series of orally transmitted histories focus on the Roma genocide in the Second World War (the Forgotten Holocaust), life in postwar communist countries, why and how individuals and families migrated to the UK. They tell us how Roma identity is perceived, how it is changing, how people experience living in London and how they belong here. Throughout the ages, Roma people’s experience has often been marginalised or written out of history altogether. This project has captured a plethora of Roma voices, which reflect the varied nature of human experience of one Europe’s most discriminated ethnic minorities.
Convened by the Raphael Samuel History Centre, this seminar will present findings from the project, followed by responses from scholars in oral history and Roma studies.
Come and join the launch of the Roma Support Group's Roma Stories exhibition at Stratford Library on 20th September!
The exhibition will run at Stratford Library from 13th September until 11th October, and later at other venues across London.
The Roma Support Group announces a free exhibition, launching in September 2019 to share the work of the ‘Roma Stories’ Oral History Project. The project explores the experiences and stories of Roma people from Eastern and Central Europe who live in London. It focuses on the key themes of: Roma persecution during the Second World War (Roma Holocaust), life in post-war communist countries, migration to the UK, Roma identity, and feelings of belonging in the UK.
The project has been produced through cooperation between Roma researchers, local community members, volunteers, the London Metropolitan Archives, museums and academic institutions in order to explore, archive and share the unrecorded stories of Roma refugees and migrants in London.
The exhibition will include extracts from interviews, rarely seen archive photographs (courtesy of the Robert Dawson Collection), a video, and artwork by Roma artist Robert Czibi.
The Roma ‘voice’ has often been marginalised, ‘hidden’ or written out of mainstream historical narratives due to discrimination and racism. Made possible by funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, this project has presented a rare opportunity to record Roma history, which has been passed down across generations orally, before it is lost.
Notes to editors:
For further information, images and interviews please contact Tania Gessi at the Roma Support Group on 07905859012 and email@example.com.
Our Aspiration Project aims to raise aspirations and improve the quality of life of Roma children through a range of activities. In May 2019 we are planning to start an afterschool club. We are looking for a number of motivated volunteers who enjoy working with children and young people and would like to support us with the delivery of creative activates for children and young people.
Could you help us to deliver art activities (painting, drawing, sculpture, taking pictures, collage making etc.), help children with their homework, deliver sport, dance and other activities?
See further information on our Volunteer vacancies page.
Brexit means that EU nationals living in the UK will have to apply to be able to stay here, with full rights of residence. This is called the “EU Settlement Scheme”. Our Guide to the EU Settlement Scheme gives help on what you need to do if you are a EU national living in the UK. See our Roma and Brexit page and click on the first of the four headings "Our Guide to the EU Settlement Scheme".
The Mayor of London and London Assembly have launched a special hub for Londoners who are EU citizens giving them guidance on securing settled status in the UK when Brexit comes into force.
The Home Office/UK Visas and Immigration have also launched a document, "Settled status for citizens and their families", giving similar guidance in European languages.
Any future documents giving help and advice to European citizens wanting to secure settled status will be added to our special Roma and Brexit page.
Training on Working with East European Roma in Safeguarding Context: Thursday, March 14th - 10% off early booking before 3rd February!
The Roma Support Group would like to invite you to attend a full-day training course on Working with East European Roma in Safeguarding Context. This will take place on Thursday, March 14th from 10am to 4pm at a venue in Central London.
The Roma Support Group is a major contributor to Roma and Brexit, a recently-published report on the future for Roma in post-Brexit UK. The report, from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) and Migration Joint All Party Parliamentary Groups, is the result of discussions at a roundtable event at the House of Lords on 11 July 2018. The event was co-ordinated by the Roma Support Group.
Roma living in the UK have a huge contribution to make to society and they greatly value living here, working here and being part of the UK community. Yet this is not always understood and recognised. Furthermore, uncertainties about the future status of EU nationals in the UK are a cause for considerable uncertainty among members of the Roma community. We hope that this initial report will be of interest to policy makers in this regard.
Read the full text of the report.
See further information about Brexit and Roma on our Brexit Information and Brexit statements pages.
Item added 11/7/2018
Roma Support Group staff, volunteers, friends, families and travellers were recently invited to celebrate Gypsy/Roma/Travellers History Month with a historical tour of the House of Lords.
On Monday, 25 June 2018, Lord Beecham hosted a House of Lords tour for around fifteen young Roma, Gypsies and Travellers.
The Roma Support Group would like to say a huge thank you to Lord Beecham for giving us all this great opportunity.
Item added 22/6/2018
We are currently looking for a volunteer who can help with our Advice and Advocacy Project, someone to support everyday running of the project including 1-to-1 advocacy sessions, workshops and our Forum theatre sessions.
Please see further information about this opportunity on our Volunteering page.
If you would like to do rewarding work with an organisation who works hard to support marginalised members of our society please get in touch!
This item added 27/6/2018
In November 2017 the Roma Support Group (RSG) made a submission to the Parliamentary Women and Equalities Select Committee (WESC). This was in response to the results of the Race Disparity Audit originally launched by the Prime Minister to look into racial disparities in public service provision with a view to ending the injustices experienced by many people.
Read the text of the RSG submission here
Read a transcript of the meeting WESC where the RSG’s oral evidence was discussed (20th December 2017)
View video footage of the meeting WESC where the RSG’s oral evidence was discussed (20th December 2017)
This item added 6/3/2018
Many Roma families think that England offers opportunities to young Roma which are denied in the country of their birth but Roma children’s experience of attending school can be difficult.
A new report, produced by the Roma Support Group with the support of Barrow Cadbury Trust, looks at extensive evidence which indicates that Roma pupils are excluded from some English schools.
See the full text of the report.
This item added 21/10/2017
We are holding a full day’s training course on Roma Cultural Awareness on Tuesday 10th July 2018.
*There is a 10% saving on bookings made before 31st May 2018*
This is what a previous attendee had to say about the training:
“As a result of this training I am planning to promote a Roma intervention programme in order to improve understanding of Roma culture and the needs of the Roma community and to reduce crime.”
– Metropolitan Police officer
Where and when?
Central London (full location details will be sent to you on receipt of your booking)
Tuesday 10th July 2018, 10 am – 4 pm (registration starts at 9.30 am
How do I book?
If you want to attend this training it is essential to book.
Fill in our booking form (Word document) and email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commercial sector: £170
Public and Charity sector: £130
Small charities (maximum 5 paid staff): £100
Independent professionals: £100
*There is a 10% saving on bookings made before 31st May 2018*
Gypsy and Traveller Empowerment Herts (GATE) have set up an online reporting tool for incidents of hate crime and hate speech towards Gypsy, Traveller and Roma community members.
Wherever possible, such incidents should be reported to the police at a local police station or by phoning 112 (or 999 in an emergency). The GATE project understands however that many community members are reluctant to report directly to the police for many differing reasons. They have set up this online tool so that reports can be made anonymously.
Three important publications about Roma people and their rights have just appeared:
A new report has been published, prepared by the Roma Support Group on behalf of St Mungo’s and Westminster City Council. It presents the findings of research carried out with Roma migrants sleeping rough in Westminster, including interviews with sixty-four Roma rough sleepers.
The report offers recommendations for the Greater London Authority, Westminster City Council and homelessness organisations in order to improve engagement with Roma rough sleepers and reduce rough sleeping in Westminster.
Read the full report.
The Roma Support Group has issued a statement following the outcome of the referendum on EU membership:
“This is a difficult time. The majority of people in the UK have said that they want to leave the European Union. This will have an impact on the Roma communities throughout the UK.
Roma families have made contributions to this country for many years; through their work and their payment of taxes. Whether they have been born in the UK, or are nationals from other EU countries, Roma women, men and children have rights to live here and to work here. These rights still exist. They can only be removed by an act of Parliament. These rights enable Roma to live and work in the UK, to have their families and dependants with them in the UK, to live in safety – free from harassment – in the UK and for them and their children to use public services (schools and health services) just as any of other UK citizen can do. None of this is changing at present. If and when it does change all Roma communities in the UK will be aware. We ask you to be vigilant for yourselves, and for others. Do not take any hasty decisions. You have every right to live and work and be happy in the UK. Exercise your rights.”
Roza Kotowicz, Chair
We are putting together some information for organisations and individuals who, like ourselves, are struggling to come to terms with the implications and possible ramifications of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union: