Parallel Lives Roma Project
A scoping study was completed identifying the location of Roma communities in the East of England and the engagement / integration practices that have been put in place by different professionals to support the community. This report is available at: https://smp.eelga.gov.uk/migrant-workers/parallel-lives-roma-project/the-parallel-lives-roma-project-overview/
Roma Support Group delivered a total of 32 half-day workshops for the project in the region’s key Roma areas of Ipswich, Luton, Peterborough, Southend and other neighbouring areas such as Huntingdon and Wisbech in Cambridgeshire. Almost 700 people took part in these workshops – the first 11 of which concentrated on generic ‘Roma Cultural Awareness’ and the remaining 21 on ‘Safeguarding Roma People and Communities’.
The project also organised three regional conferences in March 2018, March 2019 and March 2020. The first was a collaborative event to enable a wide range of interested partners to come together to help shape the project. The second, “Roma: Integrate to Educate” (RITE) was held at Queen Katharine Academy in Peterborough which has a significant cohort of Roma pupils, and the final event was the project’s farewell conference, bringing Roma projects together from across the UK and mainland Europe. Over 180 people took part in these three events.
A separate event was organised between Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council and the Parallel Lives Project in Ipswich. The event invited Roma community members and over 100 professionals engaging with the Roma community. The aims of the event were to enhance understanding of Roma culture, history and traditions and to explore the challenges and examples of best practice in Ipswich when working with Roma individuals and families.
Open Dialogue Workshops
The project also ran a series of “Open Dialogue Workshops” across the region, bringing Roma adults and school pupils together with local service providers such as Housing, Social Services, Health, Education, and Charities to discuss Roma peoples’ experiences of life and integration in their local areas, and looking for solutions for participants to take back into their workplaces.
The Parallel Lives Project has an extensive Roma information website, which includes the final project evaluation. This can be located at: https://smp.eelga.gov.uk/migrant-workers/parallel-lives-roma-project/. The team also collaborated with Jake Bowers to produce an East of England Roma Film which can be viewed here: