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A Living Tradition CIC Gateshead Roma Kavárna Project Report for July 2019

This has been another very busy month at the Kavarna drop-in.

There was a client who had an inquiry about tax credits.  There were also inquiries about Universal Credit and Settled Status.  There was an inquiry about Disability Allowance.

There was a discussion about Settled Status after Brexit.  It was noted that more members of the community are inquiring about it and we need to find ways of helping them to liaise with Citizens Advice Gateshead to get appropriate help.

At the drop-in on Thursday 11th July, there was a queue waiting outside before we opened and a very positive uptake of free food.

We had an inquiry regarding careers issues with a local academy and help filling in an expression of interest form.  We also had an inquiry about an application for PIPs. There was an inquiry about working tax credits.

There was also a form filled in to help a client get involved with Gateshead Carers.

On another occasion, we had a Universal Credit inquiry, while the phone number for a workplace was also found.  On another day, we had a client asking about debt issues. We also had an inquiry about Carers Allowance and an inquiry about Settled Status.

As we have been very busy this month, we have been referring families from Newcastle and Gateshead to Roma Right Path Project at Cruddas Park Shopping Centre with Irma.

We had a visit from NE First Credit Union, who helped members of the community to get signed up. This was a very positive step as it should help to prevent members of the community getting into debt. One client also took a NE First application form away for a friend. Our thanks go to NE First Credit Union. The Northeast was one of the major areas for the Cooperative movement in the second half of the 19th century and it is great to see these communitarian traditions continuing into the 21st century. Many thanks to Eva for her valuable support in helping to get families signed up to NE First Credit Union.

Clients also enjoyed the convivial atmosphere. The attendance on 11th July was very large with about 30 people attending in total.

Julie, a local nurse came in and spoke about the 111 service and how it was for urgent medical problems, which were serious, but not life threatening. It can direct people where they need to go. It is an issue which needs to be addressed and we will have further discussions about this.

Ed Ward and colleague came to talk to people at the kavarna about hate crime.  There are 5 types of hate crime; racial, faith, disability, gender-based and sexual orientation. The definition of a hate crime is any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or anybody else to be so.  The Impact of hate crimes is often more serious than for other crimes: - 68% of victims feel anger 68%,  46% feel fear, 28% feel anxiety/panic and 25% feel depression.  People can report hate crimes by telephone - in emergencies 999 or otherwise 101.  They can also report them online at or for Newcastle Police will respond, but need to know what is happening.  People shouldn't suffer in silence. Ed has sent the powerpoint for translation.

NE First Credit Union came back and continued with their important work -

We met with Alexandra from Gemarts who talked about 5 summer activity sessions they are running with the Roma community. On 31st July, the summer activities with Gemarts started in a very positive way with 24 children coming along with parents. They enjoyed making masks.

There was also a very positive email exchange with a member of staff at National Education Union office in London regarding the development of good practice for the teaching of young people from an Eastern European Roma background across the country.  A member of staff from the NEU is going to visit the kavarna on 22nd August for further discussions, 

In the afternoon of 18th July, two members of staff from A Living Tradition, Peter and Zaneta, took part in a meeting about the Romtels project based at Newcastle University.  Hopefully this will develop further.

There was a lot of free food handed out throughout July, which has been kindly  donated to us.

We had a discussion about Settled Status. We need to find ways of working together with Citizens Advice Gateshead and helping members of the community to go to CAG. 

Clients also enjoyed the friendly convivial atmosphere at the kavarna.

We have continued to give out free food kindly donated by Greggs.

Many thanks again to Awards for All, Greggs, Citizens Advice Gateshead.  NE First Credit Union, Northumbria Police, Gateshead Council and the Allen Lane Foundation.

Peter Sagar, Company Secretary, A Living Tradition CIC, and Irma Karchnakova, interpreter and worker, August 2019

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