Parallel Lives


Parallel Lives Project
 Identifying the Roma Community across the East of England

Roma people have been identified as the most vulnerable in Europe; “disproportionately affected by poverty and discriminated against in employment, education, health care, and other services, they face obstacles to the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms”. With the collapse of socialism in Central and Eastern Europe, Roma in the former Eastern Bloc lost what employment they had along with housing and social programmes. Facing racism and discrimination they fled as asylum seekers and later, after May 2004 (A8) and January 2007 (A2), became citizens of the European Union. However, subsequently, they faced anti-Roma attitudes in Western Europe, fuelled by negative media reports.

The Roma are not an homogenous ethnic group. They originate from various European Member States with different languages and cultures. In the UK Roma live in poor quality housing and in their countries of origin are subject to migration policies which may cause them to conceal their heritage in the UK. So it can be difficult for service providers to identify their Roma families.

Research into Roma communities has come mainly from a small number of projects in the Midlands, North and London. East of England information is limited, making it challenging to establish the precise impact of Roma on existing resident communities. The 2011 Census included Gypsies and Irish Travellers for the first time, but the Roma were not defined as a specific ethnic category. The possibility of including Roma as a specific ethnic category is being considered for future censuses. 

Regional Information

The results of the initial scoping exercise:

Parallel Lives Roma Project - Scoping Phase Results.pdf

Parallel Lives Roma Learning Event


Parallel Lives Roma Learning Event

On 27th March 2018 the Parallel Lives Roma Project Team held a region-wide multi-agency event to discuss Roma Communities in order to learn, share best practice and develop communication networks. Feedback included:

"I have learned so much, I know I have much more yet to learn. I will need to work harder to make links with Roma women and gain their trust and confidence."

"I have learned of the cultural intricacies surrounding the ethnics group and possible ways to move them to take part in integration."

"I have made some important connections today that will assist me to engage with the Roma Communities. I have learnt about Roma culture and its hierarchy and their history. Some excellent case-studies in particular the Luton Roma Trust and Red Zebra well presented. I will take this information and seek to apply certain elements locally."

Roma Cultural Awareness Training

In collaboration with the national Roma Support Group, the Parallel Lives Roma Project Team are in the process of organising and delivering free Roma Cultural Awareness training.  More information can be found in the leaflets below. If you are interested in attending or hosting a workshop please contact the Parallel Lives Project Team.

RSG Roma Culture Awareness Training.pdf

RSG Working with Roma in Safeguarding Context.pdf


Luton Irish Forum - 8.11.2018

Suffolk Police, Landmark House - Morning session - 13.11.2018

Suffolk Police and Suffolk County Council, Landmark House - Afternoon session - 13.11.2018

Tickfield Centre, Southend - 27.11.2018  

Thurrock Council, Civic Offices - 04.12.2018


Parallel Lives Project Officers:

Rachel Heathcock

01284 758311

Sue Hay

07920 257964