The City of York’s largest ethnic minority group are Gypsies and Travellers, although they are under represented on official statistics. The City Council currently maintains three official sites for Gypsies and Travellers at James Street, Clifton and Osbaldwick. Other families also live in housing across the city.
Osbaldwick Traveller Site is the official Traveller site in the east side of York. The site was inherited from Ryedale District Council during a boundary change.
James Street Site
- James Street Travellers site is the only site which York City Council have actually built for Travellers in York.
Clifton Traveller Site is an official Traveller Site in York. The Clifton site was inherited by York City Council from Ryedale District Council when boundaries were changed. To provide for disabled Travellers the provision of pitches was increased by three with facilities for disabled.
The Marginalised and Excluded research report
By Marie Neale, Gary Craig & Mick Wilkinson
York’s Traveller Community – time for inclusion
York’s oldest ethnic minority are suffering as a result of poorer housing, educational opportunities and health services. New research published today shows that travellers, who have lived in and around York for centuries, still have less access to universal services like health, education and suitable accommodation than other residents. Many of York’s travellers feel marginalised and excluded from a society in which they have lived and worked all their lives.
The findings follow a major study carried out for York Travellers Trust and funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
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Issues for York Travellers
A group of York Travellers who had just completed a parenting course (including some men!) show off their certificates
Gypsies and Travellers have a strong desire for their children to be educated, but their take up of secondary education is far below the norm and very few tend to access further and higher education. Many have difficulties with literacy and numeracy which leads to difficulties in obtaining employment and dependence upon welfare benefits. This further isolates the Gypsy and Traveller community.
Overcrowded and Poor Accommodation
The location and extremely poor conditions of the three York sites are proving problematic for residents. Families have to live in an environment that is constantly infested with vermin because all of the sites have been built on industrial estates.
Overcrowding on all three sites is also a major issue due to the lack of other provision and official reluctance to build another site. The lack of adequate facilities on each site creates poor living conditions and is detrimental to the health and well-being of Gypsies and Travellers
Poor Health and Misunderstanding
The unacceptable living conditions on sites combined with lack of access to health services and poor nutrition, contribute to the fact the Gypsies and Travellers tend to have worse health and shorter life expectancy than the general population.
The lack of understanding and knowledge between the Gypsy and Traveller community has also contributed to the marginalisation of the community. The York Travellers Trust has started to rectify this imbalance, but there is still a long way to go.