'I'm a traveller, the community is very close-knit but we deal with so much racism'

Amos with his granddaughters Brooklyn and Naveah
-Credit: (Image: Laycie Beck)

Travellers in Nottinghamshire have opened up about their day-to-day lives and the prejudice they experience because of their culture. To mark Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month, which has taken place every June since 2008, Nottinghamshire Live has spoken to members of the traveller community about their way of life.

Amos Price, 49, has been a traveller his whole life and says the community is very close-knit. He stated: "There's always a good community spirit and we take care of each other.

"The best part of my day-to-day life is just having that freedom. Gypsy men work for themselves, they can work and come and go when they want, and so we get a bit more freedom so we can do things like put up the kids' trampoline and things like that.

Tolney Lane, Newark
Tolney Lane, Newark -Credit:Nottingham Post/Marie Wilson.

"The girls don't need to work as the men support them, we are old school." Amos went on to share that because of where and how they choose to live, they face "a lot of racism."

He said: "It's a sad thing, and it's not everyone but it's a lot. Some people are fully behind us but others say horrible things on the internet."

For 2024, the history month is focusing on the meaning of family in the community in the hopes of raising awareness of the traditionally nomadic communities, as well as the issues and barriers they face. When asked about the importance of family, a 36-year-old traveller who did not wish to be named said: "It's an ingrained part of our life, family is so important, it always comes first.

"The elders are always respected and the kids are always looked after. Everybody always tries to make it nice for the children, so birthdays, Christmas and whatever else, we always make things nice to the best of how we can, it's not always how its portrayed in 'big fat gypsy weddings.'

"I think that's a very in-your-face portrayal, a lot of people are just normal people trying to make nice memories for their children." Regarding the current cost of living crisis, the mum added: "I think everyone is in the same boat, it doesn't matter if you are a gypsy or not, I think everyone is still feeling the pinch and everyone is struggling right now.

"With our community, if we see someone struggling, everyone will share so nobody goes without. Some people might see someone struggling and not help as they feel they can't afford to help, but we will all cut down a bit to make sure we can help each other.

"It's a very strong sense of community." The 36-year-old explained that many people are prejudiced towards travellers and because of that they often don't realise or want to accept help from the community.

She explained: "I think what people don't realise about travellers is we help them a lot more than they think. Travellers do a lot more fundraising than people think, personally I have run marathons to raise money for charities for baby loss and a lot of people I know have done fundraising for charities with cancer.

"If we see people struggling we like to help, people don't understand that a lot of the time at Christmas we will go and fill our local food bank." However, she shared that in the past when travellers have tried to spend hundreds of pounds on food or toys for donations, they have been refused service or had the police called on them when they are just "trying to help others."

The mum added: "It's the prejudice, that's what happens. Travellers have their own way of life.

"I think other cultures try to force us out and stop our way of life and that's not going to happen, and it really doesn't help as it makes us more determined to live our way of life. We don't want trouble with anyone else."

Another member of the traveller community down Tolney Lane in Newark who did not wish to be named added: "Family is very important to us. We look after each other."