Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Traveller sites

(69 Posts)
Fairydoll2030 Sun 15-Jan-17 21:03:59

A relative lives in a very nice, expensive area of our town. The local council are going ahead with plans (in fact they have brought them forward three years) to build a huge number of affordable accommodation in addition to a Traveller site on green belt land that abuts their estate and use the access road to the estate, which is currently a no through road, to accommodate all the additional traffic. Local properties fetched up to several hundred thousand pounds. Now prices are dropping rapidly. No one is surprised. Protestors are accused of belonging to the NIMBY (not in my back yard brigade). And who can blame them!!
On looking at a Question and Answer on Gypsies and Travellers page on the local councils website I note that, according to the author, Travellers work in a variety of professions including Teaching and healthcare . Some, apparently are 'academics' and some work in the building and landscaping trades (we know that, don't we?).

So, out of interest, are there any Traveller grans on Gransnet who are academics or teachers, or this this just the local council bullshitting spinning a line in order to minimise the protests?

Luckygirl Sun 15-Jan-17 22:07:01

I worked as picture editor and project co-ordinator on the The Travellers' Times, which is the national magazine for Gypsies and Travellers ( The current editor is a Traveller with an Oxford degree. I met many Travellers who were teachers, nurses etc, and many who worked very hard for a number of charities.

Travellers struggle to get an education for several reasons, not least of which prejudice and bullying at school; and also the general objection within the community to sex education by those other than family.

I would be the last to say that there are not Travellers whose willingness to get on with the settled community leaves a lot to be desired; but I can also say that I met many many Travellers who were upright, honest, clean-living people and who were great fun to be with and for whom I have enormous respect. Unfortunately there is a small minority who do not make good neighbours and they are a source of concern and embarrassment to the decent Travelling community.

It is also the case that Travellers come in all shapes and sizes, with different traditions and values and cannot all be lumped together.

I can understand the concerns of local people because the only time that we hear about Travellers in the media it is something negative; and I do not blame the neighbours for being concerned about house values. But if they do find themselves with a Traveller site next door, they may be surprised by what good neighbours they are. I hope so.

rosesarered Sun 15-Jan-17 22:42:56

Yes, it would depend hugely on what kind of travellers settle there.I don't blame them for being worried, it's no joke to see your house price fall and think that you may have a hard time selling in the future.

Anniebach Sun 15-Jan-17 22:58:52

So no different to any other community, good people and a few bad eggs

Jalima Sun 15-Jan-17 23:08:18

But they are not 'travelling'

That has always puzzled me somewhat.

Perhaps they need a new name.

rosesarered Sun 15-Jan-17 23:11:01


Jalima Sun 15-Jan-17 23:18:47

Parked Homes.

downtoearth Mon 16-Jan-17 06:38:05

I live very close to a traveller site,there are brick buildings and caravans on site,the girls are very polite, the boys do not appear to be any trouble,dad's have work,mums look careworn as they have large families to look after.There isn't any noise mess or trouble from these Irish travellers.

Christinefrance Mon 16-Jan-17 07:03:51

Yes Jalima that has always puzzled me too.

Anya Mon 16-Jan-17 07:47:53

I worked briefly (6 months) as a liaison teacher for Travelling and Gypsy Children. The site had both permanent travellers and those who just stayed briefly. "Travelling" is a culture not an indication of roaming around. The main problem I encountered was a reluctance to send girls to school after they reached puberty. This was partly a wish to keep them away from non-travelling boys. Gypsy girls often marry young and it is expected that they marry their own kind.

grannypiper Mon 16-Jan-17 07:48:11

Luckygirl may i ask how on earth these teachers nurses etc find employment it they are only in areas for very short periods of time ?

Anya Mon 16-Jan-17 08:01:32

Many are now on permanent sites.

Hilltopgran Mon 16-Jan-17 13:03:58

In the town not far from where I live people from the Travelling community have moved on from the local mobile homes site to local houses, they seem to like properties with enough garden to make an area for their travelling van and often buy quite large detached houses. Children are integrated into local schools, so their parents settle to allow their children an education.

You may find that after the initial building site becomes a settled community it has no detrimental effect on property. It is not pleasent to live next to any construction site, the property in this area is very costly whoever is buying.

NfkDumpling Mon 16-Jan-17 13:34:31

We used to live near a travellers site. Mostly they were semi-settled gypsies but there was a period of trouble when the council, to save money, decided to do without a residential site manager. Irish tinkers moved onto the site, ousted the residents, took over and contaminated the site to such an extent that it had to be closed for nearly a year to be cleaned up. It re-opened with a lovely Irish gypsy lady in charge with her hefty husband. (It was she who described the wreckers as tinkers in a very derogatory manner). She ended up running four sites and gained an OBE for her work to help integration. Most on the site live there permanently in a big static van, pay their rent and keep a small 'van for travelling when the mood takes them. The problem then arises that a second temporary site is needed close by for those waiting for a pitch to become free!

Over the years many of the travellers have moved into local homes which always stand out because they're immaculate if a bit fancy and integrate completely.

In the thirty odd years we lived nearby there was only that short period of trouble - and even then it didn't affect us. Provided there is a resident manage in charge I would be more concerned about the increase in traffic using the road.

NanaandGrampy Mon 16-Jan-17 13:50:09

I haven't read all the posts in depth , I'm a little under the weather but wondered if anyone could answer my question re: travellers.

If a traveller puts down permanent roots ( we have many in this area with permanent park type homes ) and they don't travel but obviously remain part of the traveller community .... at what stage / or if ever , do they stop being travellers?

I just wonder because in our area at least they don't conform to all the rules and regs ( just a for instance - taking children out of school in term time. Punishable by fines in our area but not applied to Traveller children.) .

If they put down roots should they then have to conform as the rest of us do ? Or does being a Traveller , even unmoving, mean they can ignore them?

Just curious .

Anya Mon 16-Jan-17 14:01:26

What Nfk recognises is the importance of gypsy culture. There is a leader, often female. There are rules governing what is acceptable and what is not. Strict rules, punishable by being banished from the community if the offence is bad enough.

I'm not sure how this hierarchy works, or even if it applies, when living away from fellow travellers.

cornergran Mon 16-Jan-17 14:40:40

There is the same issue with schools here, n&g, or at least there is perceived to be by the settled community. Of course it may just be a perception. The obvious tension locally is between the Irish Travellers and Travellers who describe themselves as English. There is a large community of each living in close proximity. I have no way of knowing if this is very localised or can be generalised. There is little, if any, reported general tension triggered by local Travellers. I spent my early years (65 or so ago) on a farm which employed a number of families who described themselves as Gypsies. They definitely moved from place to place, were unfailingly kind to me and helpful to my mother, my Dad described them as good workers and good people but even back then there was a concern about them from many in the settled community. Not sure we've moved on much in terms of understanding the difference in culture.

goldengirl Mon 16-Jan-17 15:03:14

When I was working I like to think I had a reasonable relationship with the travelling community - many of whom were 'static'. Their homes were spotless at least the ones I visited were. Unfortunately like in other walks of life there are always the minority who spoil things for everyone else and that is happening in our area now with caravans parked up on the verge and bags and bags of rubbish alongside competing with loose waste. They seem to expect these bags to be cleared yet they don't pay the appropriate council tax. The rest of us is being bludgeoned into paying for food / garden waste collections sometime this year. I'm all for live and let live and know life isn't fair but this doesn't endear me to their transient way of life overall I'm afraid.

M0nica Mon 16-Jan-17 17:03:29

On this question of when does a traveller cease to be a traveller, you might as well ask when someone of Indian origin ceases to be Indian after they settle in this country and it is several generations since any of they or any of their family lived in India.

'Travellers' are a very specific cultural group, who keep their cultural practices after they cease travelling. Many of them settle into fixed homes not so much because they want to but because life on the road, and making a living that way is getting more and more difficult. So those with jobs as teachers, nurses, academics etc (such respectable jobs) but also those working as care assistants, plasterers or shop assistants will have permanent homes or be parked up on permanent sites.

NanaandGrampy Mon 16-Jan-17 17:16:56

Good point Monica , I can see that would be the case.

Does anyone know if the exceptions that are made for Travellers ( and I use the school example again as it's one I have personal experience of) are made for other cultural groups ?

I love GN , someone always knows the answersmile

Luckygirl Mon 16-Jan-17 17:20:06

M0nica is right - there is more to being a Traveller than travelling - they share cultural norms that differ from the settled community, so even when they are housed or on a static site, they still have their distinct ways - some of which I applauded and admired (strong sense of family loyalty) and others |I found more problematical (curtailed education for many girls; a "macho" culture among some of the men, with even baby boys having boxing gloves as presents).

And, as I said before, and others have endorsed, they are not one amorphous mass - there are clear differences of outlook between different groups of Travellers (Irish, English, Welsh, Scottish, New etc.). And there is often antagonism between them.

But, as Annie rightly says, that is how we all are.

Iam64 Mon 16-Jan-17 17:39:15

Im another person who worked with many travellers or gypsy families. The travelling community has suffered from negative stereotypes which are not confirmed when you get to know families and individuals. There is a hierarch, similar to the class culture in wider society, with Irish tinkers firmly at the lower end and circus or fair travellers elevated.
As Monica says, it's very difficult to maintain a traditional traveller lifestyle, not least because roadside stopping places are disappearing. Many areas have a traveller site placed in what was a traditional stopping place. One of the large former mining areas I worked in had a section of the estate housing travelling families. This meant large family groups could live near and support each other. The also shared a trailer and took turns to travel for several weeks at a time.
NanyandG, the local primary school accepted some traveller children would start their long summer holiday in June rather than July.
Education is valued much more now than even thirty years ago. The importance of numeracy and literacy is acknowledged. Many parents went to literacy and numeracy classes set up firb hem at local schools so they weren't left behind and could help their children, as Anya said, there is a tendency for teenagers to leave school at 14, boys into work, girls being prepared to be wives and mothers.
Cultural identity, religious faith, care of children the elderly and love of family remain central to life even if travelling in the traditional way is no,longer possible

Iam64 Mon 16-Jan-17 17:40:02

X posted there with you luckygirl

Anniebach Mon 16-Jan-17 18:31:27

Travelling around is so difficult for travellers and gypsies because they get so much grief and do not have the freedom to move on as they once did.

A couple of years ago I was honoured to receive a request to attend the funeral of a gypsy King , that title because be was head of a large community . His parents had married here many years ago and he was baptised here when a baby. His community came from all parts of the country, church was packed, after the service there was a procession to the field where they had parked his caravan, this was set on fire and everyone stood in silence untill the fire died out. It was so moving to witness such an old tradition . His granddaughter still calls on me every year on her way for hop picking, I keep a larger in the fridge for her , I love to hear how her year went . It's sad we are losing people who no longer feel free to park up.

whitewave Mon 16-Jan-17 18:54:33

annie smile