Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Is Enough Done to Help Travellers? WITH an Application for a Travellers' Site Earmarked for Stokesley, Is Enough Being Done to Help the Travelling Community? We Look at What Provisions Are in Place for Them

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Is Enough Done to Help Travellers? WITH an Application for a Travellers' Site Earmarked for Stokesley, Is Enough Being Done to Help the Travelling Community? We Look at What Provisions Are in Place for Them

Article excerpt

THE travelling community has lived and travelled in this country for at least 500 years.

But with recent programmes such as My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, their lives have suddenly been thrown into the spotlight - and not always for the right reasons.

Applications for new sites also often come under scrutiny.

Last week, we reported how some residents in Great Broughton had complained about plans for a new site over concerns at the growth potential.

They also said there are other sites in the area which are under-subscribed.

In Teesside there are a number of traveller sites such as Metz Bridge, in Middlesbrough, and Bowesfield Lane, in Stockton.

The applicable council is usually responsible for managing these sites and has an obligation to improve the facilities and the surrounding environment. Paul Wheatley, from Redcar and Cleveland Council's housing standards team, explained how it works.

Paul, who works alongside travellers at The Haven site in South Bank, said: "Anything I can help them with, I do. Whether it's applying for benefits, providing a link with the health service or helping with any education issues.

"We can provide support for anything they may be struggling with."

The Haven site is due to be given a facelift thanks to a Government grant of pounds 410,004.

It comes after Communities Minister Andrew Stunell announced pounds 60m of national funding - including pounds 5.6m for the North-east - to create new authorised pitches and improve existing ones.

Paul said: "The recent grant is a good sign of the support that is given to the travelling community.

"The travellers are over the moon about it."

Education provisions are also in place for young travellers.

The Minority Ethnic Achievement Network, set up in 2010, is a network of professionals who work with children and young people from minority ethnic groups, including traveller communities. …

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