Doncaster CCG working with Gypsies and Travellers


Doncaster CCG is working with local Gypsy and Traveller communities to find out how to improve health and well-being.

There are an estimated 4,000 – 6,000 Gypsies living in the Doncaster area and life expectancy for this group is likely to be at least 20 years lower than other communities.

The CCG has partnered with Co:Create and community journalists to listen to Gypsies and Traveller Communities to understand how their health needs can be better met.

Dr David Crichton, Chair of NHS Doncaster CCG said: “Engagement is at the heart of what we do and to do this effectively we listen to people and hear their views.

Involving members of the Gypsy and Traveller Communities in this project as Community Journalists will hopefully help to develop new skills and confidence. We are looking forward to taking the film made by the Community Journalists to our Engagement and Experience Committee later this year and sharing the findings.”

Community journalists are reaching out to members of the Gypsy and Traveller Communities to make short films to highlight what the problems are and how these communities can improve their health and well-being.

Lee Gap Horse Fair

This innovative project stems from joint working between Co:Create; a Sheffield-based health-funded group of co-production and engagement specialists along with NHS Doncaster CCG, community journalists, Justine Gaubert and Violet Cannon. Joint working began in June 2017, when both organisations attended a training event in Leeds to look at working with marginalized communities.

Brendan Warner-Southwell, Programme Co-ordinator at Co:Create said:

“This has been a very rewarding project and has involved real co-design between members of the Gypsy and Traveller Communities, the NHS and Co:Create. We are working with the CCG to look for a way to make a positive impact on the health and well-being of the Gypsy and Traveller Communities. In order to do this we need to understand why they live on average, more than 20 years less than people from other communities in this country.”

Both organisations attended a ‘Gypsy Life’ training day in Retford and Lee Gap Horse Fair in September to find out about the barriers faced by members of the Gypsy and Traveller communities along with looking into the difficulties they face in relation to their health and well-being.

Engagement at Lee Gap produced essential research for the project which informed the brief for the Community Journalist Project, taking the findings to the next stage. Following the successful recruitment of three community journalists at Lee Gap, the group has been meeting to take forward the project, looking at making a film in the coming months.

The training sessions not only focused on journalism skills and how to collect data, interviewing techniques for different media platforms and how to ask the right questions.

Over recent weeks the community journalists have been asking Gypsies and Travellers across Doncaster the following co-designed questions:

  1. What stops you from accessing healthcare?
  2. What would you not be comfortable talking to a healthcare professional about?
  3. What do you think is the biggest healthcare issue for Gypsies and Travellers?
  4. What would make healthcare services better for you?
  5. What do you think the settled community can learn from the GT community?

This innovative and exciting project with our Gypsy Community has also been covered recently by the ‘Travellers Times’. You can read the article here.

The outcomes of this important work will also feed into the first ever joint health and care commissioning strategy for Doncaster. You can read all about the strategy here

If you are a member of  the Gypsy or Traveller communities in Doncaster you can give your answers and feedback to the questions here.







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