The Roma Project in Coventry was founded in 2010 in response to a need within the community. It has always been a project that is run by the community and has evolved to try to meet the changing and growing needs that have been identified within the community.
The current Board that steers the project includes members of the Roma Community. They have recognised the need to build capability and capacity within the organisation in order to move forward and make more impact on the issues facing the community. The project has a goal of forming a youth committee board. Youth engagement and supporting Roma Women and children is a priority of the Roma Project.
We have won several awards for our work with the Roma Community.
Advocacy and Information Service:
We have continued to deliver our advocacy and information service to the Roma community. Our advocacy service is based at the Coventry office of the Law Centre, operating on 4 days (Monday – Wednesday – Thursday – Friday) on an appointments basis with emergency cases being seen on the same day. On a Tuesday morning, we run an outreach drop in service in Foleshill where many Roma families live.
Influencing policy and practice:
We have continued to work with West Midlands Police delivering training to their staff and working in partnership to increase knowledge of rights and responsibilities amongst the Roma community:
- Delivered 3 workshops reaching approximately 20 police officers from across the West Midlands to increase their understanding of working with the Roma community. As well as training we facilitated 2 community walk arounds for officers involved to give context to the training.
- Took part in an operation to serve European Arrest Warrants in the local community with West Midlands Police and Romanian Police. Our role was a liaison between the community and the police forces involved.
- Workshop with community members (25 people attended) delivered by the police on the legal requirements of owning and using a motor vehicle.
- We attended an update meeting with staff at the Migration Group Support Services – Schools support service of Coventry City Council.
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Our Chair represents the Project at the Regional Anti- Slavery Network (attends as part of paid employment). Another member of our Board serves on the Roma – Police Liaison Board (national organisation).
Collaborating with Universities and Cultural awareness activities:
As a charity, we have strong links with organisations, services, universities and other charities in the country and abroad. We work closely with academics and other political entities to ensure that we are sharing best practices with others interested in the Roma community. We have collaborated on a number of local, national and international European projects and worked closely with leading thinkers in Higher education.
Some highlights include:
–Erasmus+ RTransform: Roma Women transforming the educational systems around Europe through their social and political Mobilization
–Roma: Recycle Reuse Reimagine Project: Co-creation of a children’s book on recycling
–Urban Villages: The Growing Project
-SP Policy Funding GRT in Higher Education: Transforming Policy
–CEF EU-Funded WEAVE Project (Widen European access to cultural communities via Europeana)