In many ways our Heritage programme is the jewel in the crown of MTW’s work. It certainly attracts the most interest from the public both Traveller and settled and is as enjoyable as it is important. We provide Traveller culture awareness training in many formats from Junior Infants to higher education students and statutory agencies.
Our Barrel Top wagon forms the centre piece of our Living History project. The wagon, complete with story teller, tin-smith, campfire and tent brings this part of Traveller culture to life in an entertaining and educational way. The Living History project has visited a number of schools, colleges, traditional fairs and organisations. This project has become very effective in delivering its message and includes a photographic exhibition print on fabric.
Our Community Employment programme supplies a viable workforce to Meath Travellers Workshops, Cultur and Navan Library and offers vital training opportunities for CE participants. While on our CE programme, participants avail of a range of training programmes aimed at helping them progress to paid employment on completion of their time with us. The programme employs people in the following areas: Reception, Youth work, Heritage, Library, Administration, Community work, Maintenance and Cleaning. Childcare CE placements are all under the Crann Support Group Programme and include intensive childcare training.
All participants receive hands on work experience in their area, as well as FETAC certified training throughout the year. This programme is designed to increase progression into mainstream employment and fulltime education and training. Recent participants have gained certification in subjects such as Childcare, Business Admin and Reception Skills, Security, Manual handling and safety training and Payroll training.
The MTEI Service helps Travellers who are looking to get into employment by holding one to one meetings, identifying their skills and interests and matching them to suitable job roles. They also offer advice on appropriate training and Education opportunities. They support the individual with pre-employment guidance and support, supporting with application process (CV’s, cover letters, interview skills and preparation)
They are able to contact employers on the behalf of the jobseeker therefore giving the employer a background of the candidate before interviewing and selling them to the employer.
Meath Travellers Employment Initiative (MTEI) outreach service works out of Meath Travellers Workshops and Job Matters in Academy Street. MTEI offers assistance to Travellers who wish to find employment, return to training and education or want to become self employed. Many project participants have either gained employment or availed of training since the project started.
MTW Ltd run several projects each year as part of our community development programme, these include an annual Traveller Christmas Mass, Christmas Card and Calendar Competition and regular trips for both adults and children to special events. We have been at the forefront of many community events such as Feile na Paisti, Navan Shamrock Festival, Tara High Kings Festival and the Rebel Spirit of Navan 1916 event.
We work with as many groups in Meath as possible, sharing resources, experience and ideas. This means we reach more people on a daily basis. Some of the groups we have worked with include: Meath Youth Federation, Navan Community Development Project, MERAN Meath Equality and Anti Racism Network, Cultur, Skyrne Historical Society, Comhaltas Ceoltori naEireann, Navan Shamrock Festival, Navan2Navan, Nave Facelift, Wheatfield Place of Detention, Tusla and the HSE. We enjoy working with these groups and many others, too many to mention them all. Meath Travellers Workshops Ltd play a leading role in organising topical community initiatives in Meath such as International Women’s Day, UN Anti Poverty Day and Social Inclusion Week.
We regularly receive requests for placements with our organisation. Following on from a Volunteer Management Training course we attended through Meath Volunteer Centre, we have now in place a simple contract to ensure that the expectations of the volunteer and ourselves are clear from the outset.
For students on placement, there is a structured plan in place to explore and enable them to see all areas of our work. After which they are encouraged to decide themselves if they would like to plan and deliver an initiative in a particular area. We have facilitated placements from the following institutions: Navan Youthreach Foundation, Kells Youthreach, Cavan IT, NUI Maynooth, BTEI, Athlone IT, St Fintina’s Longwood, Navan Careerstart, Ballyowen Meadows Clondalkin, O’Carolan College Nobber, Trinity College Dublin, IT Blanchardstown and the Probation Service.
Traveller families often need support and advocating around health, education, social work and accommodation issues as well as mediation support in times of conflict. We act as a liaison between families and schools, in regards to enrolling children who might have just moved to the area and children starting school and other issues. We also liaise with Meath County Council in regards to housing and accommodation and with private Landlords as regards to Rent Allowance and obtaining housing for Travellers who might not have had the confidence to approach such entities on their own.
Medical cards and Home Care Assistance are also issues. We help people obtaining medical cards and renewals and also for the more vulnerable members of the Travelling Community who require that little bit of extra help and support that they both need and deserve.
Twelve Traveller women are employed as part-time health workers in the Meath Primary Healthcare Project. This project is supported by the Local Traveller Health Advisory Committee. The women provide health information and support to the local Traveller community and work on many health related information and initiatives, including a quarterly Newsletter from the Project and also running health related education programmes.
Some of these initiatives include Operation Transformation Group, supporting the Involve Youth Project with nutrition information. There was a joint working initiative with Meath Travellers Workshops and Meath Community Drug and Alcohol Forum (MCDAR) organising information sessions on “Drug Awareness for parents and young adults”.
The recommendations from the All Ireland Traveller Health Study reinforce the ‘Wider Determinants of Health’ model. This model recognises that our health experience is influenced not only by our genes and lifestyle, but also by our opportunities and wider social, cultural and physical environments.
This is the approach that informs the work of Meath Travellers Workshops. MTW continues to promote activities that support Travellers in their day to day lives, encourage representation on issues affecting Travellers, and portray a positive image in the community along with celebrating Traveller culture and heritage.
You can find more information in the “All Ireland Traveller Health Study, Summary of Findings”.
We are very proud of our quality early childhood education programme and afterschool service. We provide a Preschool for children aged from 3-5 years and an Afterschool for ages 5-12 years.
We are unique in being a Traveller-led facility that celebrates cultural diversity and equality. The curriculum includes various methods of play, arts and crafts, music and cooking. The Afterschool children receive support completing their homework, arts, crafts and games and also receive a hot nutritious meal. Little Angels is part of the Crann Community Childcare Group. Crann Support Service look after 11 different community childcare facilities including Little Angels, and they provide access to knowledge, expertise and training that ensure a high quality is maintained.
To find out more, you can join us on facebook ‘Little Angels Community Childcare Service’. To sign up for a place in our childcare facility http://www.crannsupportgroup.ie/documents.php
Our Youth department is also part of Involve, (formerly known as NATC National Association of Traveller training centres). Involve is a national organisation supporting Traveller youth groups all over Ireland.
Here in Meath youth activities take place mainly in Windtown Navan and Trim. Involve links in with many local and national agencies NYPD and SMART (Garda Diversionary Projects in Navan and Trim); also Navan School completion Programme, Trim FRC, Meath Youth Federation, YAP, Youthreach Progression, NYCI, Show Racism the Red Card Project and Leargas Ireland’s national agency for Erasmus +
As well as weekly sessions, the summer project has been running since 1983 and is still looked forward to every year. Activities include learning nutrition and health eating, arts and crafts, games, sports, music and drama and trip that are both recreational and educational. In 2016 the older group enjoyed a Youth Exchange with a group from Italy called ‘Low Tech, High Activity’ to encourage young people to get off their phones and other tech device and get active and enjoying mixing with people socially, getting more fit and active, making friends, getting outdoors and having fun!
We developed a Pilot Traveller Prison Links Programme working with Wheatfield Place of Detention and kindly funded by St Stephens Green trust. This Programme was supported by SSGT and Irish Prison Service and has gone on to influence the development of Traveller specific programmes in Prisons all over Ireland through the Traveller Prison Initiative. The reports and publications from this programme can be found under Information and Resources in OUR PUBLICATIONS section.
Meath Travellers Workshops own nearly 70 acres of land in Carnaross, Kells. Several years ago, we commissioned a feasibility study to help us decide what to do with the land. At the time we felt that a Traveller Heritage Park would be a unique experience for all visitors both Traveller and the wider community. This project will be a long and hard process so we are breaking it up into small and progressive parts.
The refurbishment of the Kitchen and Bathrooms in the old farm building enabled the premises to be used for our first Horse Care programme. We provide Horse Grazing and are involved with Dept of Agriculture and the County Vet to ensure that the horses are cared for, passported and microchipped.
We would like to further develop the land to provide supports for, in particular Traveller men, to get involved in rural and culturally appropriate initiatives. We would like to install poly tunnels and grow horticulture and encourage self sustaining enterprises and continue to develop the land. It is our aim for the future is to provide a valuable interactive, educational and entertaining facility for everyone.