Celebrating
local Traveller initiatives

Pictured are Primary Health Care Team members. Back row (l-r): Annmarie Nevin, Frances Swaray, Teresa McDonnell, Caroline Stokes, Elisa Cerrato, Tony Owens and Bridget Power. Front row (l-r): Valerie McFarlane, Mary Stokes and Mary Nevin. Photo: Michelle Ghee. www.gphotos.ie
On Thursday, November 20, the public are invited to celebrate Traveller culture and integration at the County Library with the opening of a new exhibition.

On Thursday, November 20, the public are invited to celebrate Traveller culture and integration at the County Library with the opening of a new exhibition.

Beginning at 11am, the Traveller Projects Celebration Day will showcase a number of initiatives co-ordinated by Longford Community Resources Ltd (LCRL) and funded by the HSE in Co Longford, including the Primary Health Care Project for Travellers, Women and Men’s Groups and Community Development projects.

Organised by LCRL and supported by the HSE, the County Council and Exchange House, the event will begin a week-long exhibition, which includes a model of a traditional barrell topped wagon, made by Longford Traveller Men’s Groups along with a wonderful showcase of crafts and health promotion materials designed by the Primary Health Care Project for Travellers.

Local Traveller families have also contributed old photographs to highlight the Traveller way of living over the past sixty years. This part of the exhibition includes photographs from the 1950’s onwards along with a selection of Traveller crafts.

Furthermore, a selection of photographs have been put together to form a 2015 desk calendar, entitled, ‘Looking at our past - to build a better future’.

A copy of this calendar will be available on the day of the launch for all participants.

The celebration day forms part of the 2014 work plan of the County Longford Primary Health Care Project for Travellers. The initial aim of the celebration was to mark the achievements of the Traveller Men who have engaged with the project since early 2012 through the work of the Traveller Men’s Worker, while also highlighting the wider work of the project, through the Community Health Workers.

The local Traveller groups have carried out incredible work on their crafts over the past 2 years. The barrell topped wagon, which will be on display in the library, was started in August 2012, a few months after another Traveller Men’s Group began their own woodwork projects to make gardening accessories and indoor furniture. Allowing the men to become immersed in hands-on projects, the intiatives also encourage them to come together and be open to receiving men’s health-related information.

The event will take place from 11am to 12 pm next Thursday, and all are welcome to join in this celebration of crafts, initiatives and achievements. The exhibition will remain in the library for one week after the launch.