works with Gypsies, Irish Travellers and New Travellers in Cornwall and the South West of England. It aims to break down barriers which prevent Gypsies and Travellers having equal access to health, education and welfare services as well as to provide play and learning opportunities for children and young people.
In 2014 TravellerSpace was awarded £19,000 towards the purchase of a play bus in order to provide mobile and flexible outreach play and learning opportunities to children from the Travelling community who, as minority community, may not otherwise have access to mainstream provision.
The purchase and renovation of the play bus was completed in January 2015 and the play bus has hosted 51 sessions providing support to 404 children to date. These sessions include: visiting families residing at road sides or on unauthorised sites who do not have access to nursery or other mainstream early years support; drop in sessions to carry out art and play activities; providing a quiet space for individuals and small groups; and 1-1 drop in support sessions for young people working on art projects or other qualifications.
The play bus has been successful in providing a transition between home and mainstream early years education services. Furthermore, TravellerSpace’s willingness to work in partnership with both statutory and non-statutory agencies such as Cornwall Council Equality and Diversity Service and local children’s centres, has enabled better opportunities for Gypsies and Travellers aged under-five within an existing provision and has raised greater awareness within these agencies of the difficulties the Gypsy and Traveller community.