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20 February 2015
BBC Northern Ireland Learning - Citizenship - KS3/KS4

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Video 3 - Travellers


BBC reporter:
A group of gypsies in Bedfordshire have been told they can't stay on their caravan site - even though they own the land. It's part of a big problem facing travelling communities right across Britain, who have fewer and fewer places to stay.

Five years ago, this site was bought up by a gypsy family and turned into a permanent base for Travellers.
But now the Government says they have got to go because they don't have the special permission needed to live there all year round.
Mark is fourteen. He is a Romany gypsy living on the Woodside Caravan Park. He has never lived in a house and has no plans to.

Mark:
My home isn't actually much different to anybody that lives in a house - because we have got central heating, televisions. We have got telephone and fax, and we have got a computer in the bedroom.

BBC reporter:
There are around a hundred thousand Romany gypsies like Mark living in Britain and many other travelling communities are all looking for places to pitch up. But, in the past 20 years, moving around has been made difficult because many temporary traveller sites have been closed down.

Mark:
I am worried about where we are going to go because we can't move up and down sides of the road. It's illegal to pull on the side of the road. There is no council sites anymore. When we buy our own land and try and get it past, they won't let us do it. So where do they want us to go?

BBC reporter:
Some of the gypsies living at Woodside think the Council's being unfair. And they are claiming it comes down to racism.

District Council member :
It's not about the fact that they are Travellers or gypsies. It's basically about the fact that they don't have permission to live there.

BBC reporter:
Everyone living on the site has been told they have to be out by Monday - but Mark and his family are refusing to leave. They are planning to stand their ground until they are dragged off.

(Report from BBC's Newsround 01/11/2002)


Michael Mongan, Irish Traveller:
It's tough, it's hard - because of a lot of people's attitude towards you, like. They just...they don't know you, they don't trust you, they don't know who you are - what makes you tick. What makes you live in these harsh conditions. It's hard to get through to them that you want to live this way.

What can you say to them. When you want to explain - you just more or less. It's the way, it's the life you were born into. If you're born black you can't change your colour. Born a traveller you can't change.

(Extract from BBC programme 'Study Ireland: Citizenship 2000' 09/05/2001)



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