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Who Bristol's Gypsy, Roma and Travellers are, where they live and how we support the community.

Bristol's Gypsy, Roma and Travellers

The term Gypsy Roma Traveller (GRT) describes a number of ethnic and cultural groups.

Ethnic Travellers include:

  • English and Welsh Romany Gypsies and Scottish Travellers (who are also a Romany group)
  • Eastern European Roma
  • Irish Travellers

These GRT Communities are minority ethnic groups, as defined under the Race Relations Act and with protected characteristics under the Equality Act (2010). They have their own traditions, customs and languages.

Cultural Travellers include:

  • Travelling Show people 
  • Travelling Circus people
  • Boat dwellers
  • New Travellers
  • Vehicle dwellers

Cultural Travellers may travel or chose to live in a caravan, boat or vehicle because it is a family tradition or because they've known no other life. Others travel in search of a better life, for economic or environmental reasons.

All of these groups are represented in Bristol. Each group has its own culture. They often share the same problems related to accessing public services and discrimination.

Where Bristol's Gypsy, Roma and Travellers live

Not all GRT families live in caravans or on Traveller sites. In Bristol, about 95% of the ethnic Traveller community live in houses or flats. This compares to roughly 80% countrywide.

Many families live in Bristol for the autumn and winter months, but are often elsewhere during the “Travelling season” which suns from Easter to October each year.

Bristol's Travellers' sites

Ashton Vale 

BCC own a permanent traveller site in Ashton Vale which has 12 pitches where a mixture of English and Welsh Gypsies and Irish Travellers live. Bristol City Council owns the site and it's managed by Elim Housing. 

Lawrence Weston

Our transit traveller site has 20 pitches. It's used for Gypsies and Travellers moving to and from Bristol for work. Residents are allowed to stay here for up to three months at a time.

Showpeople sites

Bristol also has one privately owned Showpeople site with 12 plots in Bedminster.

Meanwhile sites

There is some limited provision for vehicle dwellers who are currently kerbside in Bristol. Pitches on these sites are small, temporary and have minimal facilities. They provide a safer alternative to living roadside. 

At the time of writing, we have 65 pitches available spread across five different sites. None of these sites are permanent as the land has long term uses planned for it, but using these sites to provide temporary stopping places allows people to move away from the vulnerabilities of the kerbside and gives them an address from which to better access other services.

We'll contact you after you've applied if we need further information to process your application.

Apply for a pitch on a meanwhile site

For information about meanwhile sites email:  meanwhile.sites@bristol.gov.uk

Gypsy, Romany and Traveller website

We have an easy English website for the GRT community with phone numbers and information about how to access services and get  support.

Education

We have a legal duty to give pupils from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller access to education.
We work with families, communities and schools to make sure:

  • schools understand the GRT culture
  • GRT children can access distance learning if necessary
  • parents are engaged in their child's education
  • bullying, discrimination, literacy issues and cultural issues are dealt with properly

Gypsy, Roma and Travellers information for education professionals or schools

Healthcare   

 The Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community often find it difficult to access health services.

Our Gypsy and Traveller Health Visitor Stephanie Lovell visits families who are based in or travelling to Bristol to help them with any healthcare needs.

Email: stephanie.lovell1@nhs.net

Call : 0117 903 0732 or 07795 646 541

Awareness training

We provide free training to schools and other organisations interested in:

  • gaining a better understanding of the GRT culture
  • improve their services for the GRT community

pdf Myth buster booklet (476 KB)

Support for victims of racism, harassment and discrimination

SARI provides free and confidential support to victims of racism, harassment and discrimination. Contact Anna Balcerek: anna@saricharity.org.uk

Contact us

If you're working with or are concerned about a GRT child, young person or family encourage them to contact us.

Report an unauthorised encampment

How to report an unauthorised encampment and what we'll do