Hereford & Worcester

Fairground travelling family win High Court care case

A family of fairground travellers have won a High Court ruling to get Worcestershire County Council to provide year-round care for their son.

The three-year-old has Down's syndrome and other complex medical problems.

During the fair season, the family travel throughout the UK from their base in Malvern. The council said it "lacked the power to agree" to nursery funding once the family left Worcestershire.

But the judge ruled it was mistaken.

'Huge implications'

Sitting in London, Mr Justice Holman said the family's way of life formed "a core part of their identity".

"The family have always travelled and lived in a caravan," he said.

The case was brought on behalf of the boy, J, who cannot be named for legal reasons, by his father with the backing of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The judge said J and his family needed some form of social care from Worcestershire County Council.

The council said J was a "child in need" but it could not provide funding for him to attend nursery when the family was travelling in other counties.

But the judge disagreed, adding the issue was of widespread importance "to all local authorities and many travelling and itinerant families".

Councillor Liz Eyre said the council was disappointed with the decision and was considering whether to appeal.

She said the ruling had "huge implications for all local authorities and agencies who provide services to Gypsy, Roma and traveller families".

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