The National Rural Conference 2024

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Rural Media receives £1.3 Million from the National Lottery to invest in practical media skills and training for Gypsy, Roma & Traveller communities

Herefordshire based national charity, Rural Media, has been awarded £1.3 million in National Lottery funding, to support its work with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities. Rural Media has been working with Traveller communities for 30 years and is the home of The Travellers’ Times, the UK’s only national GRT media platform. A valued cultural publication within the Traveller community, the award-winning Travellers’ Times is central to celebrating and connecting people with their history, culture and, particularly during the pandemic, each other. 

Rural Media will use the investment from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, to launch TT Vision, an updated, more video-focused version of the Travellers’ Times project. TT Vision will aim to up-skill, train, and offer media and career opportunities to Gypsies and Travellers, building to full community ownership and operation in the near future. 

Based on feedback directly from the GRT communities, Rural Media developed TT Vision as a project that will provide paid living wage training, enabling many to ‘break the glass ceiling’ that the communities often face. 

An ambitious and bold project, TT Vision will invest in practical skills that will support community development, social mobility and place the tools for GRT representation firmly in the hands of Gypsies and Travellers themselves. Media professionals, educators and business leaders will provide training in media and communications, video production, management and finance, marketing and distribution, public relations, leadership and life skills. 

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Travellers’ Times has also been unable to run face-to-face and group activities and has seen a surge in demand for support as a result. The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund will support the delivery of this much-needed training and career development. The four-year transition will include regular review to ensure accessibility of the project, which will be rooted in on-the-job research, vocational knowledge, and practical skills. 

Nic Millington, Rural Media CEO and Travellers’ Times co-founder, said:

“Over the last two years, Rural Media has consulted widely with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller organisations, families and individuals, asking what would be most useful for their long-term wellbeing. The response to our consultation was loud and clear – listen to what the new generation of Gypsy and Traveller creatives are saying: .  Gypsy and Traveller communities urgently need to be able to represent themselves at local and national level, but require skills and support to do so. We are also aware that some individuals may need financial help to take up training, hence the inclusion of a living wage component to the TT Vision project.   

“Thanks to the National Lottery players, we have a robust strategy in place that will ease Travellers Times’ into independence. Investing in practical skills, education and leadership has always been core to our aims. TT Vision will enable Gypsies, Roma and Travellers to take full advantage of the new digital age and have a powerful independent voice.”

Julie Colman, Travellers Times’ Project Manager and Rural Media Operations Manager added:

“We are thrilled to have support from The National Lottery Community Fund. I am hugely proud of the work Travellers’ Times, our contributors and supporters have done over the last 20 years - but there is still much work to be done. TT Vision is our most ambitious project to date. We want to ‘break the glass ceiling’ for young Gypsies Roma and Travellers wanting to become media makers and creators and, by the end of the project, see Travellers Times’ supported into independence as a Traveller-led organisation” 

Lisa Smith, Travellers’ Times Youth Editor said:

“We’re so pleased to be able to expand the work of Travellers’ Times. With a strong focus on community leadership and empowerment, this project will drive forward our commitment to creating space for counter narratives to the dominant mainstream media, a place where Gypsies and Travellers have a platform to tell their side of the story.”

Elly De Decker, England Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, commented: 

“We are delighted to fund this project, which aims to ensure that people from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities have access to relevant information and opportunities. Most importantly though, what attracted us to this work is that it ensures the voices of this community are heard. 

“We are able to fund this vital programme thanks to National Lottery players, who raise £36 million each week for good causes throughout the UK.”

The National Lottery Community Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Last year it awarded over half a billion pounds (£588.2 million) of life-changing funding to communities across the UK and supported over 14,000 projects to turn their great ideas into reality and make a difference in their communities. Thanks to National Lottery players, £36 million is raised each week for good causes throughout the UK.


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