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Case Studies

Health Activist Project for Gypsies and Travellers

Published by Claire Masding-Taylor
Programme Lead - Children's Health
NHS Berkshire West
Telephone 0118 950 3094

The Health Activist project was set up to improve the health of Gypsies and Travellers. A Lead health activist was employed to raise awareness of health issues with the community and recruit and mentor members of the local community to become Health Activists themselves.

Our delivery partners are...

West Berkshire Council - Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service (EMTAS) 


We have funding and support from...



The project is located in...

West Berkshire based on two traveller sites in Aldermaston and Burghfield


The start and finish dates of the project are...

Oct 2009 - December 2010


The people helped are...

Gypsy and Roma Travellers (GRT)


What they have said is...

Provide a quote from a participant...

We set up the project because...

We recognised that this community suffered from poorer health than the general population and may not access mainstream health improvement services.

The difference this project makes is...

The project aims to reduce health inequalities by improving the health and wellbeing of gypsies and travellers in West Berkshire.



- Increase health improvement initiatives provided directly to the traveller communities

- Train a number of community members to become health activists

- Improve liasion and understanding between primary care providers and the traveller community

What we did or are doing

A Lead Health Activist was employed to work on 2 sites in West Berkshire.  She worked closely with West Berkshire's EMTAS team to develop relationships with the community and understand their health needs. Two women from the site have recently been employed as Health Activists and are keen to set up healthy cooking and physical activities on site.

We chose this method because...

Similar projects have been successful with GRT communities in Ireland.

What's happened is...

- Relationships succesfully built with the communtiy

- A weekly mums and tots bus visits each site weekly providing opportunities for healthy eating and physical activities

- Families have enjoyed trips to country parks and theme parks

- A wide range of initiatives have been delivered to promote healthy lifestyles

- Two members of the community are receiving training to be employed as Health Activists

What we'd do differently...

We would recommend that a project working with this community is set up over a long time scale. It takes a long time to build trust and respect with the community.


Each session is individually evaluated  - further information is available on request..

This project helped to deliver...

One of the PCT's strategic objectives is to reduce inequalities in health, which this project clearly addresses.

The project is now...

Applying for further funding to continue in 2011.

Additional information or comments?

Type any comments here













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Lead Organisation NHS Berkshire West
Geographical Area  
Beneficiary Age  
Beneficiary Groups  
Type of activity  
Primary Theme Eating for Health
Secondary Themes Chances4Change Mental Wellbeing Physical Activity



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