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ROMA-NET Project – Glasgow partner city experiences

29 May 2012

ROMA-NET is an URBACT project led by Budapest focusing on the integration of Roma populations. Glasgow is one of the 10 city partners of the project. And 2012 has been a busy year for ROMA-NET in Glasgow. Here, Marie McLelland, Glasgow Project Coordinator, shares Glasgow Local Support Group experiences.

National Roma Event
In February, Glasgow hosted a national event "Scotland's New Migrant Communities – Meeting the Needs of Roma". This event was attended by over 50 delegates from across Scotland with representation from Local Authorities, charities, NGO's, statutory organisations and politicians.

The purpose of the event was to explore how we meet the needs of the Roma community and look at European, National and City based perspectives on emerging challenges and good practice. The event included presentations from Glasgow City Council, Strathclyde Police, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, the Scottish Government and a keynote opening from the Deputy First Minister for Scotland who expressed her strong support for the URBACT ROMA-NET project and the local Roma community in Glasgow.

Round table discussions were an important aspect of the event during which delegates discussed the themes of education, community engagement, health, housing and employability.

Some important key messages came out of these discussions, one of which being the need for multi agency working, as well a new networking opportunities with many ROMA-NET partners making important links with organisations and practitioners from around Scotland.

Social Work Services Get into Training

With the support of ROMA-NET, Glasgow City Council Social Work Services have successfully negotiated with Cardonald College to create a pilot introductory course on interpreting for 10 Roma students. Each student who completes the course will receive a certificate and the college has agreed to provide their venue free of charge for the duration of the pilot. Local interpreting services are reporting a lack of Roma speaking interpreters and it is hoped that this pilot will test the viability of such a programme and move 10 Roma interpreters closer to jobs in this area.

In addition, ROMA-NET is supporting the development of a training day for practitioners who work with local Roma on the welfare rights of A2 and A8 nationals.

ROMA-NET partners have expressed concern at the lack of awareness on what the rights of these nationals are and there is a fear that they are being prevented from accessing appropriate services and support. In response to this, Glasgow City Council Social Work Services are facilitating a training day for practitioners from ROMA-NET partner organisations. This one day training will also offer partners the opportunity to discuss any emerging issues affecting the local Roma community in Glasgow.

Sport and Dance – The Universal Languages

ROMA-NET partners of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life, Community Renewal and the Govanhill Youth Project are working together to secure funding for a one year football and dance programme for young Roma and non-Roma from the local area.

The purpose of this project is to bring together all young people from all communities to take part in a free football and dance programme that is provided by local charity A&M Training. This charity operates throughout the City of Glasgow, working with vulnerable young people from all walks of life, many of whom are asylum seekers, have a history of gang related activity or come from other marginalised communities.

The benefit of this programme is that it is absolutely free for all young participants and combines team working, improving confidence levels and also involves taking part in tournaments and competitions, something A&M Training believes is vital to give young people that added incentive to take part.

The project team are hopeful funding can be secured by the summer to embark on an exciting programme for young people.

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