Celebrate Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month This June

Calderdale Festival brings towards lasting change on key issues of inequality at local, regional and national levels
Colin Petch
June 8, 2024

With diversity and inclusion at its heart, the Calderdale Year of Culture programme features an unforgettable event to celebrate Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month this June.

People will be able to immerse themselves in the vibrant traditions that shape the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities at Halifax Borough Market on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 June 2024.

This special CultureDale event is set to be a rich showcase of history, music, art, performances, talks and crafts, from 11.30am to 3pm in the Victorian market hall’s Albany Arcade.

The event is being run by the fantastic folk from Leeds GATE (an organisation working to improve quality of life for Gypsy and Traveller people) in partnership with Calderdale Council.

Every June since 2008, people from across the UK have celebrated Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month. This recognises the many contributions of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, and aims to amplify their voices and tackle prejudice.

Calderdale Council is lighting up Wainhouse Tower in yellow from this coming Friday 14 to Friday 28 June, in solidarity with Calderdale’s Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. There is also a special display at Hebden Bridge Library throughout the awareness month, and storytelling sessions at the library on Saturday 22 June by Richard O’Neill, award-winning performance storyteller and writer from the travelling community. Tickets are available HERE.

As part of Calderdale Year of Culture 2024, the Council is setting up a regular community group for the Eastern European Roma community living in the Park ward area of Halifax. This will include regular drop-ins and events to connect people and celebrate the community’s culture and heritage.

The Council is also looking at ways to support the accommodation needs of Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Show people communities, in line with Government planning policy and legislation. A report on this was discussed at the recent Cabinet meeting on Monday 3 June.

Cllr Danielle Durrans, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, said: “Calderdale has a long and proud tradition of celebrating diversity, and the Year of Culture is an extension of this. Working with local communities, we have created an inclusive CultureDale programme that everyone can enjoy.

“The Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month event at Halifax Borough Market, and the other activities going on throughout the month, are an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the valuable contribution of these communities’ culture and history to making Calderdale so special.”

Robin Dark, Calderdale Team Leader at Leeds GATE, said: “We are really proud to have a presence in Calderdale for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month this year for the first time in 2024. Working with our members across West Yorkshire, we know how important culture and heritage is, showing Gypsy and Traveller people as a key part of the fabric of our history not apart from it.

“We hope showcasing Gypsy and Traveller distinct cultures and arts in spaces that are inclusive and creative to reach many diverse communities is a real asset to the CultureDale celebrations and a step towards further change in the future.

"We also work towards lasting change on key issues of inequality at local, regional and national levels. You can find out more about us and our work through our website at www.leedsgate.co.uk and keep up with our social media all around History Month at @LeedsGATE."

You can get involved in the Year of Culture by visiting www.culturedale.co.uk

Header Image - Traditional Gypsy Wagon and Wheel (Image: Leeds GATE)