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Gypsies, Roma and Travellers

Gypsies, Roma and Travellers have a long established history as part of our community in County Durham. We have a duty to encourage race equality, eliminate discrimination and foster good relations.

We welcome different cultures within County Durham and seek to promote the contribution that Gypsies, Roma and Travellers make to society.

What is a Gypsy, Roma or Traveller?

The Housing Act 2004 definition is "Persons of nomadic habit of life whatever their race or origin, including such persons who on grounds only of their own or their family's or dependents' educational or health needs or old age have ceased to travel temporarily or permanently, and all other persons with a cultural tradition of nomadism and/or caravan dwelling.

This includes the minority ethnic groups known as Gypsies - whether English, Scottish or Welsh - and Irish Travellers; whether mobile, of limited mobility, or no longer living a nomadic way of life but living in housing or in caravans on public or private sites, and so-called 'new' Travellers, some of whom are second, third, even fourth generation Travellers and/or in some cases have Gypsy or Traveller ancestors or family.

Working with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities and settled communities within County Durham

We aim to meet the needs of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities who pass through the county, as well as working with local settled communities, councillors and key partners, to offer support and advice. Our key areas of work include the management of unauthorised encampments and awareness raising.

Gypsies, Roma and Traveller sites

Partnership working

We work with other agencies to ensure a joined-up approach to working and sharing best practice and appropriate information. Our key partners include:

  • Developing Initiatives Supporting Communities (DISC): provides advice and support to improve access to services such as health, education and training, and increase knowledge and awareness of housing issues and welfare benefits. DISC works across council-owned sites, unauthorised encampments and also supports housed members of the community. 
  • The police to deliver excellent policing to inspire confidence in the people they serve by protecting neighbourhoods, tackling criminals and solving problems. 
  • Health services
  • Housing and commissioning services


Holocaust Memorial Day 

Find out how we commemorated this year's Holocaust Memorial Day.

Gypsy, Roma, Traveller History Month

Taking place every June, Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month celebrates 500 years of Gypsy and Traveller culture and history in the UK. The awareness month, recognised nationally for over five years, brings together local Gypsy and Traveller communities to ensure past traditions are remembered and continued for years to come.

Appleby Horse Fair

Appleby Horse Fair is an annual gathering of Gypsies and Travellers in the town of Appleby in Cumbria which takes place in the first week in June, from Thursday to the following Wednesday, but this is essentially a weekend event with the main days being the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Appleby Fair is unique in Europe, attracting around 10,000 Gypsies and Travellers and over 30,000 visitors to the fair. County Durham is a key part of the route to Appleby with areas in Teesdale offering stopover points for people travelling to the fair. More information about the fair can be found on the official Appleby Horse Fair website.

Gypsy and Traveller Health Project

Gypsies and Travellers live shorter lives and live in poorer health than all communities across County Durham.

As a consequence an action plan to improve the health and wellbeing outcomes for these communities was developed and implemented. It included the following actions:

  • provision of cultural awareness training for council, health service and voluntary sector staff
  • appointment of two health trainers for the Gypsy and Traveller communities
  • creation of a specialist Health Visitor/Nurse post
  • production of culturally relevant health promotion resources

An independent evaluation of these interventions was put in place and this report details the impact of the work undertaken to date:

Icon for pdf Gypsy and Traveller Health Project Evaluation (PDF, 4.1mb)  




    Contact us
    Gypsy Roma, Traveller Service
    03000 261 000
    Our address is:
    • Durham County Council
    • Room 125-126
    • County Hall
    • Durham
    • County Durham
    • United Kingdom
    • DH1 5UG
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