Rachel Pinchin, Deputy Chief Executive
Elim has a vision to meet housing need and deliver homes that change people’s lives. As a smaller housing association, offering a fairly wide range of services, we work towards the achievement of this vision every day through the provision of homes and services for individuals and families from a vast range of backgrounds and life experiences. Among the different customer groups we work with, the homes and services we provide for the Gypsy and Traveller communities clearly demonstrate the life changing impact of a good quality, affordable home.
The needs of the Gypsy and Traveller community are often overlooked in local and national policy making, and Gypsies and Travellers continue to be one of the most mis-represented and vulnerable groups in society, facing stark inequalities in outcomes relating to health, education, employment, financial support and housing.
Since 2013, Elim has actively worked to try and tackle housing inequality for the Gypsy and Traveller community, focussing on the provision of site management for Local Authority partners and the development of much 37 needed new affordable pitches across two brand new sites in North Somerset and BANES. We are now proud to have a hand in managing over 150 pitches in partnership with six separate Local Authorities, and sit on the National Policy Advisory Panel on Gypsy and Traveller Housing, with an aim to tackle discrimination and promote best practice and the supply of appropriate and affordable homes for Gypsies and Travellers.
Building on our experience, we want to encourage new housing associations to help address the shortfall in good quality Gypsy and Traveller housing. To this end, we’re delighted to share ‘Places we’re Proud of’, the Panel’s new guide to the delivering great new Gypsy Traveller sites that are well-designed and well-managed.
Planning for any new social housing brings challenges and often tension with the local community, and no more so than when the plans are for new Gypsy and Traveller site provision. The process of making it through to delivery can be difficult and costly - but ultimately worthwhile. Through positive, transparent site design, and a consistent management approach, we are proud to have been able to dispel neighbourhood concerns and demonstrate how housing for Gypsies and Travellers can fit well and work alongside, and as part of, local communities.
The ‘Places we’re Proud of’ guide reflects our pride in the sites Elim has developed, and our ongoing aim to work with Local Authority partners to improve older sites and deliver new Gypsy Traveller sites which are fit for the future.
Thank you to our colleagues on the National Policy Advisory Panel on Gypsy and Traveller Housing for leading on and contributing to this guide, we are so pleased to be working with you all.