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Sunday, February 26, 2017
Churches welcome new funding for Travelling People
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¬†Church groups and Travellers have welcomed government plans this week to upgrade some Travellers' sites around the country. But they are concerned that no new sites have been scheduled and say the cash will not be enough to stop unauthorized camps. Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue, who recently confirmed several young people from the Westway Travellers' site, under the flyover in Hammersmith, west London, said: "I was delighted to hear this news. Travellers are a most vulnerable group of people needing our help. However so much more needs to be done." Rev Arlington Trotman, secretary of the Churches' Commission for Racial Justice, (CCRJ), a commission of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, said: "CCRJ welcomes this government help for the improvement of some existing Gypsy sites. We hope that further government help will be given in the near future for the necessary refurbishment of sites which were unsuccessful in this round." He added: "We hope too, that the government will feel able to consider the provision of further high-quality stopping sites for Gypsies and other Travellers, because there is such a pressing need to address the shortfall in legal sites for Travelling People. Unauthorized encampments will continue as long as this shortfall exists." A spokesman from the National Gypsy Council in Swindon, said: "We appreciate the improvements that the additional funding will bring. But there is a shortage of legal campsites which is making our way of life increasingly difficult. Some councils are less sympathetic to us then others. We are constantly under pressure to settle. " A total of 38 projects around the country have been approved for grant funding by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, in the first part of a three year £17 million 'Gypsy Site Refurbishment Grant' programme. However a further 37 bids were rejected and no new schemes were included in the programme. Nearly four million pounds was allocated in the first round. The scheme will meet 75 per cent of costs. Six million will be made available in 2002-2003, and eight million in 2004. Authorities with unsuccessful bids will be given a chance to reapply in in the next two rounds.
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