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25 Jan 2016

Third annual Moving Forward Together conference hosted by York St John

More than 100 delegates from across the UK attended the third annual Moving Forward Together Conference - Celebrating Gypsy, Roma & Traveller Diversity & Culture which was hosted by York St John University.

The conference, held earlier this month, was provided in partnership with the York Travellers Trust and City of York Council - Traveller & Ethnic Minority Support Service (TEMSS) and Faculty of Education & Theology, York St John University. The day included keynote speakers, workshops and the launch of a video funded by York Travellers Trust about Gypsy and Traveller communities and the barriers that they face.

Delegates from a range of organisations and sectors (including health, education, housing and police) looked at how services can work with the traveller community more effectively.

Katie Simpson, Head of Partnership Development, Faculty of Education & Theology said: “We are delighted that this important area of work has evolved and that the conference has grown and is now in its third year. This important area of work is evidence of our continued commitment to widening participation in Higher Education, dispelling myths and challenging prejudice.”

Christine Shepherd, Chief Officer for York Travellers Trust, said: “Once again we had another fantastic conference that was very well received by delegates. These conferences are essential for building bridges and breaking down some of barriers to social inclusion and active participation.

“Through such conferences we are able to raise some of the many issues that are faced by members of the Gypsy / Traveller community on a daily basis, the event offers opportunities to positively address some of the challenges faced by the community and to look at possible solutions, especially in terms of health, education, housing and discrimination.”

Professor Karen Stanton, Vice Chancellor of York St John University, opened the conference and announced that the University was establishing a bursary to enable and encourage young people from the York Traveller community to achieve their educational potential.

Professor Stanton said: "I firmly believe that education is the bedrock of opportunity and nowhere is this truer than among marginalised communities for whom education can unlock doors previously closed to them and provide a pathway to a better future.

“To support this, York St John has set up a two-stage bursary of up to £2,000 to encourage students to complete their level 3 studies and to progress to and complete undergraduate study at our University. I hope that many young people will be able to benefit.”

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