Newly-arrived young people in Barnsley often face disadvantages on many levels. This is particularly true for Roma gypsy young people, who lack access to services and suffer marginalisation and discrimination.
In summer 2017 we were asked by Barnsley council to help the local Roma community find its voice and feel part of Barnsley. Over the past year we have offered weekly youth work sessions and workshops around self-esteem, teambuilding, online safety and visiting local safe spaces in Barnsley to help build a feeling of belonging.
We were thrilled when Roma gypsy young people from the group volunteered to perform at the recent Barnsley central awards 2018; with just over 250 people attending, it was a great opportunity to show off their talents and how far they have come. On the night, Roma young people starred at an event specifically designed as a celebration of what it means to live in Barnsley. We can think of no better way of demonstrating their growing confidence and their sense of ‘belonging in Barnsley’.
Area officer Carol Brady said, “A MASSIVE THANK YOU to you and the young people for the fantastic performance last night! Everyone thought it was brilliant and it went way beyond my expectations”.
The young people are currently working on coming together with VAB to form a forum to give young people’s views on living in Barnsley and how they can help improve services for asylum seekers and refugees in the future.