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A Living Tradition CIC Gateshead Roma Kavárna Project Report for February 2020

We have been busy again this month, helping members of the Roma Community on Tyneside. Among other things, we have helped many clients with issues around council tax bills, we have helped a number bills. There have also been applications for birth certificates and help for somebody applying for council tax.

We have helped a client with a problem with HMRC. They sent information to Child Benefits, who have continued to hold it. Now people responsible for Universal Credit have been asking the client for the passports and birth certificates. The UC is being delayed as HMRC are holding on to the passports and birth certificates.

We have written a letter for a client to the HMRC with help from Citizens Advice Gateshead.

We have had many families coming to the Kavárna with help about getting passports sorted out. Many families are getting very worried about gaining Settled Status.

We have been helping applicants contact their local council. There have been cases when clients have gone to their local council help and advice point, where they are told to complete applications online or phone the council. They find it impossible to do things online or can’t afford to phone the council, as they have to wait so long to get through. This would appear to be a result of austerity policies on a national level.

We have helped with a job application and an instructions form from HMRC for somebody starting a new job, aiding somebody with a County Court claim form and helped to get a couple started with an application for council housing.

We continue to provide a vital service to the Roma community on Tyneside and we continue to be the only service specifically for the large Roma community in Gateshead. Without the support of the Kavarna, many members of the Roma community would be left without the vital support they need. We are helping them to sort problems out before they become overwhelming. We are also involved in prevention work through identifying needs.

Gateshead Carers have begun to attend the Kavárna very two weeks, in order to help identify members of he Roma community who need their support.

We also had people coming to enjoy the convivial atmosphere, with coffee and food

We have been successful in gaining more funding from Awards for All and which will help us be able to continue our work. It also means that in the coming months we will be able to develop a number of new initiatives aimed at helping the Roma community to have greater access to the public services they need and to be able to pay a greater role in the life of the wider community on Tyneside.

We have been working with the Roma Rights Path project who are involved with the Roma community and we are getting referrals from them. Consequently we are more becoming even more busy now.

We had excellent support again from Citizens Advice Gateshead.

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

Many thanks again as ever to Greggs, Citizens Advice Gateshead. NE First Credit Union, Northumbria Police, Gateshead Council and especially Awards for All for their continued support.

Peter Sagar, Company Secretary, A Living Tradition CIC, and Irma Karchnakova, interpreter and worker, March 2020


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