Co. Wexford has a significant Traveller population, with an estimated 704 Traveller families residing in the county (Wexford County Council, November 25th 2016). This is the fifth highest Traveller population in Ireland and the highest in the South East.
Wexford Local Development works in partnership with the Travelling Community and other stakeholders, to seek to improve the quality of life of the community. We do this through:
- Traveller Community Health & Education Programmes
- Traveller Youth Development Project
- Traveller Participation Strategy
- Access to employment, enterprise and education supports for individual Travellers
Traveller Community Health Programme
What’s happening at the moment?
At present there are 9 Traveller women employed as Traveller Community Health Workers in Wexford. Their role is to increase the health knowledge and access to Health Services for the Traveller community. Their work is firmly based in the community and is underpinned by the values and principles of community development.
Areas of work include:
- Outreach programme to facilitate advocacy, support and provision of health information for Travellers;
- Promote awareness of the Traveller Community Health Programme and the health needs of Travellers to service providers;
- Improving uptake of Health Services by the Traveller community;
- Networking with local and regional networks including the South Eastern Traveller Health Unit, the Regional Traveller Health Network and other relevant fora;
- Promote positive mental health within the Traveller community by raising awareness of existing supports available to those with mental health issues;
- Deliver Traveller Culture Awareness Training Workshops to service providers;
- Identification of gaps in existing services;
- Regular up-skilling and training of Community Health Workers.
The programme engages with over 90 participants through facilitating the following groups:
- Wexford Traveller Women’s Group
- New Ross Traveller Women’s Group
- Clonroche Traveller Women’s Group
- Enniscorthy Traveller Women’s Group
- Gorey Traveller Women’s Group
- Clonroche Traveller Girls Group (Girls Own)
- Enniscorthy Traveller Girls Group
- Enniscorthy Young Traveller Males Group
The programme also links in with the following groups:
- Clonroche Community Development Group
- Templeshannon Community Centre
- Gorey Family Resource Centre
- Gorey Youth Needs
- Taghmon Family Resource Centre
- FDYS Bunclody Traveller Family Support Programme
- FDYS Youth Work Ireland
County Wexford has the 5th highest Traveller population nationally, with over 600 Traveller families living in the County. In March 2002, the first Traveller Primary Healthcare Training Programme took place in New Ross. This programme was completed in June 2006 and subsequently four of the graduates were employed by the HSE as Traveller Community Health Workers.
Following on from the success of this programme, the Bunclody Traveller Primary Healthcare Project was set up in October 2006. Following its completion in December 2009, graduates were invited to participate in a selection process from which five are now employed by Wexford Local Development as Traveller Community Health Workers.
Both of the training programmes were funded and supported by FAS, HSE, DSFA and Co. Wexford VEC and hosted by Wexford Local Development. Altogether over 30 Traveller women undertook FETAC Level 3 and 4 courses, encompassing subjects such as Family Health, Communication, Maths, Personal Development, Community Development, Caring for Children, Child Development, Preparation for Work, Food & Nutrition and Cookery.
For further information on the Traveller Community Health Programme contact:
Other Traveller Development Supports
As part of our Traveller Programme, we employ a Traveller Youth Worker based in Taghmon and covering the greater Taghmon area. This is a collaborative action with Involve (formerly National Association of Traveller Centres).
The Youth Worker presently works with Traveller children in Teach Spraoi Community Childcare centre, in an afterschool setting and with young Traveller girls and boys supporting a youth group and summer activities. WLD also actively encourages local Traveller families to access early childhood opportunities available and accessible to them in the community childcare centre.