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18 June 2014
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Legacies - Hereford and Worcester

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Immigration and Emigration
Travellers through time

Looking forward

A number of these problems are being tackled creatively in Herefordshire. An education initiative, the Herefordshire Early Year Project, has been working with travellers to encourage them to take up pre-school places for their children, and to teach them of the uses of play in helping young children to learn. The Council has also set up a Travellers’
A family group
The travellers have been a vital part of Hereford's rural economy
© Photographer unknown, from a collection held at the University of Liverpool Library
Health Project to try to address the specific health needs of travellers, who have a much lower life expectancy than other people. A bus goes out to several of the traveller sites in the area, with a GP and nurses on board – and in this Herefordshire is unique in the country. The project helps to bridge a gap, putting travellers in touch with appropriate organisations to assist them with their problems.

Certainly Herefordshire’s is one of the more forward thinking councils in England when it comes to gypsy and traveller communities. In 2002 it created a specific travellers’ policy, with a vision “to create in Herefordshire an environment where different communities, the traditionally nomadic and the traditionally settled, live in harmony, and where all have access to the basic needs and benefits which characterise an inclusive society”.

So, gypsies and travellers remain an important part of the Herefordshire community today, just as they were all those centuries ago when they first arrived. The community has been forced to adapt to changing circumstances in the 20th and 21st Centuries, and their position in society has been far from secure. With the commitment of the council, they are sure to continue having an impact on Herefordshire for many decades to come.

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