Opening the door more: Services Working with Travellers in 2022
Watch the Webinar back on the Cork City Partnership Youtube Channel
A webinar on 31st January 2022 Opening the Door more: Services working with Travellers in 2022 launched research highlighting the need for widespread and ongoing culturally competent and relational work across the statutory, community and voluntary sector between non-Traveller projects and Traveller projects to improve access to services.
Interviews with Travellers speaking of their firsthand experiences accessing services provided a backdrop to the launch. Participants said that feeling welcome in a service helped them to feel good about themselves and continue to engage with the service. Others spoke about how feeling unwelcome, with even daily negative experiences, led to feelings of ‘mistrust, low mood, fear, anger and hurt’ creating a viscous circle that affected all aspects of their lives.
The webinar was hosted by the Cork Traveller Visibility Group’s (TVG) Traveller Specific Drug and Alcohol Project and Cork City Partnership’s Community Outreach Drug and Alcohol Awareness Project (CODAAP). Both organisations jointly co-ordinated a family support project that involved recruitment of a group of 16 community-based healthcare workers across Cork and Kerry, who participated in a combined a training package, research and community engagement events. The project took place over the last two years with funding from the HSE Cork/Kerry Alcohol Harm & Families Project Grant.
Research was conducted both before, during and after the project actions, examining the experience of the group of 16 healthcare project workers who completed a combined culturally inclusive and new skills (5-Step Method family support) training package. Findings showed that the combined training (incorporating anti-bias training and trauma aware working alongside new skills training in family support), was effective in reducing worker bias towards Travellers initially, for a limited period, but that its impact diminished over time.
The research points towards the need to embed ongoing cultural competence measures within organisations, as the initial positive impact on the healthcare worker’s bias reduced somewhat 6 months after completion of the combined training.
The research additionally highlights the benefits of supporting and resourcing staff to engage in relational work with the Traveller community, in order to create links, build trust and, critically, increase uptake of support services by Traveller families.
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