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Gypsies and Travellers

The term Gypsy, Roma and Traveller is a collective term used to describe a wide variety of cultural and ethnic groups. There are many ways in which ethnicity may be established: these include language, nomadic way of life, and crucially, self-identification. Defining a person as a Gypsy, Roma or Traveller is a matter of self-ascription and does not exclude those who are living in houses. Ethnic identity is not lost when members of the communities settle, but it continues and adapts to the new circumstances.

A number of different groups are covered by the generic term Gypsy, Roma and Traveller: English and Welsh Gypsies, Irish and Scottish Travellers, showmen (fairground people) and circus people, bargees (occupational boat dwellers) and New Travellers. Most of these communities have a long tradition of a travelling lifestyle, although their history and customs vary.

For more information about the history and culture of Gypsy and Traveller communities and for information and advice for Gypsies and Travellers please visit the Friends, Families and Travellers website. FFT are the only national charity that works on behalf of all Gypsies, Travellers and Roma regardless of ethnicity, culture or background.

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