Gypsies and Travellers make up almost 1% of the population in Cambridgeshire representing the largest ethnic minority in the county. In Cambridgeshire it is estimated that approximately 70% are Romany Gypsies, 20% are Irish Travellers and 10% are others including Scottish and Welsh Travellers and an increasing number of Eastern European Gypsies. The numbers of Gypsies and Travellers in the population is difficult to ascertain and there is often significant underreporting of service use and outcomes as organisations may not include Gypsies and Travellers in their ethnic monitoring, coupled with the need for the subjective definition of ethnicity and reluctance to declare ethnicity for fear of discrimination.
The Cambridgeshire Gypsy and Travellers JSNA aims to identify the current and future health, care and wellbeing needs of the Traveller population in Cambridgeshire and has been overseen by the Cambridgeshire Travellers Strategic Co-ordination Group. This JSNA was written at a time of significant change with a new Coalition Government and economic recession which will have implications for future policy regarding Gypsies and Travellers.
There are clear inequalities in outcomes for the Gypsy and Traveller population, often as a result of lack of secure accommodation. Eviction and enforced mobility are key factors preventing access to education, healthcare, training and work opportunities. Gypsies and Travellers have significantly poorer health status than the rest of the population, yet may have difficulty accessing appropriate services. Gypsy and Traveller children remain highly disadvantaged in terms of access to education and achievement. While significant progress has been made in Cambridgeshire, this progress must be maintained and much still needs to be done to bring their outcomes up to the level of the rest of the county's population.