On the 21st of January 1988, a group of Travellers, civil liberty campaigners and solicitors came together and formally set up The Travellers Aid Trust as a registered charity. The two main objectives of the charity are:
- The relief of poverty, hardship, sickness and distress among such persons as adopt, whether temporarily or permanently and regardless of race, culture, nationality or ethnic origins, a nomadic style or habit of life (herein after referred to as ‘Travellers’).
- The advancement of education among the children of Travellers by attendance at school or otherwise.
The origins of The Travellers Aid Trust date back to the mid-80’s, when most of the original trustees worked as volunteers with Festival Welfare Services. This involved welfare work with new Travellers at free festivals and the running of an advice line. Much of this work centered on liaising with solicitors and police around access to Stone Henge. The need for these services was made more acute following the behavior of riot police during the now infamous ‘Battle of the Beanfield’ in June 1985, in which many Travellers were assaulted, their homes destroyed and children taken into care.
Much of the early work carried out by Festival Welfare Services was done with the support of such organisations and groups as the Salisbury Labour Party, the Quakers, the Salisbury Diocese Social Responsibility Council, St. John’s Ambulance and the National Council for Civil Liberties, who later published a report on the events that took place at the Battle of the Beanfield.
For the next couple of years, the charity ran an advice line for new Travellers using various peoples’ homes and run primarily on donation. By the late 1980’s, the activities of the charity had begun to dwindle as a result of people moving abroad and a number of long-term supporters passing away.
The charity then became dormant for the next ten years. In the late 90’s, the trustees approached Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT), a voluntary organisation with practically identical objectives, suggesting a takeover of the charity. After careful consideration and consultation, FFT offered instead to revive and administer the trust, helping to maintain it as a separate organisation. In June 2000, a new board of Trustees was elected and following a bequest, the Trust became full active and independent in 2003.
The Trust Today
The Trust is constituted through a Trust Deed and is governed by a Board of Trustees which meets four times a year. To date, Trustees have been drawn from the beneficiary group and from professionals working with or for Gypsies and Travellers in either the voluntary, statutory or legal sectors. The Trust endeavours to ensure a balance between beneficiaries and professionals as well as a gender balance on its Trustee board and recruitment of new Trustees reflects this.
The Trust is run through an office staffed by a part-time Administrator. The role of the Administrator is to deal with all aspects of the overall and day to day administration of the Trust, all correspondence and communications related to the Trust and to administer all of the Trust’s grants programmes and projects. The Trust Administrator reports back to the Trustees both in writing and in person at board meetings and through telephone and email communications between meetings as appropriate. Decisions in relation to the reimbursement of project costs and expenses claims, along with a limited number of small grant payments (up to £250) that fall within set criteria for individual grant programmes are delegated to the Trust Administrator. All other decisions in relation to grant payments are first assessed by the Trust Administrator and then put forward to Trustees for consideration at their board meetings.
For more details on the Trust’s activities, please have a look at our Annual Reports:
Because we are the only independent grant-maker in the UK that specifically supports Travellers, we are often approached by other grant-makers, agencies and government offices for help and advice. We have worked in partnership with other funders such as Comic Relief as well as agencies such as the Commission for Racial Equality, the Welsh Assembly Gypsy & Traveller Unit and Planning Aid Wales. The Trust is also invited to advised and make submissions on policy documents and invited to host workshops and make presentations at conferences and seminars. If you would like to know more about what the Trust can offer, please contact the Trust Administrator.
Below is a list of some of the work the Trust has done in the past:
- Feb 2010 – ACF IBN Gypsy & Traveller Culture and Views plus launch of ‘A Grant Makers Guide to Supporting Gypsies and Travellers’
- May 2009 – ACF IBN First Gypsy & Traveller Issue Based Network
- September 2008 – Two day conference in partnership with the Wates Foundation at Friends House, London. Gypsies & Travellers – A Conference Exploring Ways of Achieving More Informed and Effective Grant Making
- September 2005 Association of Charitable Foundations Conference
Joint workshop presentation with Comic Relief
‘Working with Others – A practical approach to joint funding’
- September 2006
Welsh Assembly Government launch of the Niner report – ‘Accommodation Needs of Gypsy-Travellers in Wales’
Workshop- ‘Engaging Gypsies and Travellers’
- November 2006
Chartered Institute of Housing (Wales) – ‘Fit for Purpose’
Local Housing Market Assessment Module for Local Authority Housing Officers
Presentation on engaging and assessing the needs of Gypsies and Travellers
- March 2007
Chartered Institute of Housing – National Housing Conference- ‘TAI Are You Being Served’
Joint mini-plenary presentation with the Commission for Racial Equality Wales
- May-June 2007
Welsh Assembly Government Consultation Project – Planning Circular
Joint consultation project with Planning Aid Wales, Save the Children Wales and the Travellers School Charity
- May 2007
Welsh Assembly Government Gypsy & Traveller Unit
Meeting and consultation on Minimum Site Standards
- September 2007
Planning Aid Wales AGM Guest Speaker
The Travellers Aid Trust
PO Box 16
Carmarthenshire SA17 5BN
Tel./fax: 01554 891 876