Every year Mid Sussex District Council puts on three Play Days at three different mid-Sussex parks for kids up to the age of twelve and Friends Families and Travellers, the Brighton based national Gypsy and Traveller charity, became involved.
At a planning meeting for the events, Liz from Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT) was asked how she thought it would be possible to get more local Travellers to come to these events, as it had been noted in previous years that the numbers attending from all ethnic minority groups was low.
(Picture caption: The Mayor of East Grinstead, Councillor Mrs Julie Mockford)
‘Make local Travellers feel welcome’ was Liz’s answer to that question!
FFT attended the Play Days with Frisco’s vardo and the FFT gazebo packed full of fun things to make and lots of glitter.
Local Traveller families came along and joined the wider local community at the event and everybody loved the vardo and the art activities provided by FFT. Once they had realised there was a whole bunch of fun to be had at the rest of the Play Day, mums, dads and kids continued to the other activities put on by other local voluntary groups. Kids were given a card and received a stamp every time they completed an activity. When the cards were completed they were eligible to go in to the prize draw.
The vardo was a great attraction in itself and received many visitors, who were shown around by Lou and Frisco and invited to join them for a cuppa.
All three days were really well attended and it was great to meet the local Traveller families who attended the events. One mum, when asked why they had randomly stopped off at the Burgess Hill event, said “I saw the vardo in the park, and that made me feel welcome to come by”.
(Picture caption: From left to right left to right - The Mayor of Burgess Hill, FFT contributor Kate Smith, The Head of Mid-Sussex Council and his Consort)
(Main picture caption: Jaimee, from East Grinstead)