A HEREFORDSHIRE company has received £1.3 million from the National Lottery to invest in practical media skills for the travelling communities.

Hereford media company and national charity Rural Media has received the money from the National Lottery Community Fund for ‘The Travellers’ Times’, the UK’s only national Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller (GRT) media platform.


Elly De Decker, England Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “We are delighted to fund this project, which aims to ensure that people from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities have access to relevant information and opportunities.

"Most importantly though, what attracted us to this work is that it ensures the voices of this community are heard.

“We are able to fund this vital programme thanks to National Lottery players, who raise £36 million each week for good causes throughout the UK.”

For 30 years, Rural Media has been working with GRT communities.

‘The Travellers’ Times’ is a cultural publication within the traveller community.

It celebrates and connects people with their history, culture and - particularly during the pandemic – each other.

Nic Millington, Rural Media CEO and Travellers’ Times co-founder, has consulted GRT organisations, families, and individuals over the last two years, asking what would be most useful for their long-term wellbeing.

“Gypsy and Traveller communities urgently need to be able to represent themselves at local and national level but require skills and support to do so,” said Mr Millington.

“We are also aware that some individuals may need financial help to take up training, hence the inclusion of a living wage component to the TT Vision project.

“Thanks to the National Lottery players, we have a robust strategy in place that will ease Travellers Times’ into independence.

"Investing in practical skills, education and leadership has always been core to our aims. TT Vision will enable Gypsies, Roma and Travellers to take full advantage of the new digital age and have a powerful independent voice.”

The National Lottery Community fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. Rural Media will invest the money into the launch of the ‘TT Vision’.

This will be a more video-focused version of the Travellers’ Times Project; it will aim to up-skill, train and offer media and career opportunities to Gypsies and Travellers.

They hope to build full community ownership and operation in the not-so-distant future.

Julie Colman, Travellers' Times's (TT) Project Manager and Rural Media Operations Manager, said the charity hopes this will enable many to ‘break the glass ceiling’ that the communities often face.

She added: “We are thrilled to have support from The National Lottery Community Fund.

I am hugely proud of the work Travellers’ Times, our contributors and supporters have done over the last 20 years - but there is still much work to be done. TT Vision is our most ambitious project to date.”

TT Vision will invest in practical skills that will support community development, social mobility and place the tools for GRT representation in the hands of Gypsies and Travellers themselves.

Lisa Smith, Travellers’ Times Youth Editor said: “With a strong focus on community leadership and empowerment, this project will drive forward our commitment to creating space for counter narratives to the dominant mainstream media, a place where Gypsies and Travellers have a platform to tell their side of the story.”

Those involved will be a team of local media professionals, educators and business leaders will provide training in media and communications, video production, management and finance, marketing and distribution, public relations, leadership, and life skills.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Travellers’ Times has been unable to run face-to-face, and group activities have seen a surge in demand for support as a result.

The funding will support the delivery of this training and career development.

The four-year transition will include regular review to ensure accessibility of the project, which will be rooted in on-the-job research, vocational knowledge, and practical skills.