First Community holds successful Gypsy, Roma and Traveller health conference for Children and Family Health Surrey

Published on 04/02/2019

First Community, as part of Children and Family Health Surrey (CFHS), held a Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) Health Conference on Thursday 31 January 2019 to explore the issues facing GRT communities ahead of the launch of CFHS’s two year assertive outreach programme, funded by Surrey Heartlands. The conference was held at the Cobham Curve Conference Centre.


Expert speakers presented on a range of local and national GRT health projects, discussing the barriers and challenges around addressing health inequalities in marginalised communities and sharing best practice. The event was attended by more than 60 people including members of the GRT community and health and social care professionals. The conference was funded by the Queens Nursing Institute.


First Community, as part of Children and Family Health Surrey, has been commissioned by Surrey Heartlands to launch the first county-wide GRT health initiative.  The assertive outreach programme, which is due to start  in April 2019, will build on a recent GRT health improvement project carried out in the east of Surrey by First Community’s 0 – 19 Homeless Health Team. This project was funded by the Queen’s Nursing Institute which provided care and support to GRT communities in east Surrey in innovative new ways.


The new Surrey-wide project will be delivered by the same specialist GRT team, under the leadership of 0-19 Homeless Health Lead, Lisa Gavin. Lisa said: ‘We are thrilled to be expanding our GRT health advocacy and outreach programme to the rest of Surrey. There will be a particular focus on those experiencing homelessness, overcrowding on sites and unauthorised encampments’.


Lisa added: ‘hearing directly from members of the traveller community at the GRT health conference on 31 January was extremely valuable. Our QNI project was driven and shaped by the local GRT community and we will continue to work this way with the new programme to ensure it meets their needs.’


Surrey has the fourth largest GRT population of any UK county with the GRT population estimated at around 10,000 - 12,000. Research continues to show life expectancy is lower for GRT people and their health needs are not fully met by traditional NHS services.


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For more information contact: Jenny Rawlinson or Maddy Sciberras at  First Community, 01737 775 462


Notes for editors:

First Community is an award-winning organisation which is part of the NHS family delivering community healthcare services in east Surrey and the surrounding area. We offer a friendly face with highly rated, well-run services, delivered by our skilled people. We provide high-quality nursing and therapy services, children and family services as well as a rehabilitation ward and minor injury unit at Caterham Dene Hospital. First Community was rated overall Outstanding by CQC in 2017.


Visit  for more information about First Community.


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Children and Family Health Surrey services are provided under one contract by three established NHS providers: CSH Surrey, First Community Health and Care and Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Trust.


Visit for more information about Children and Family Health Surrey.


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