I remember working from the age of six, travelling in the back of vans and pickups.
My grandmother got married at thirteen, those times have changed. I think seventeen or eighteen is far too young these days.
In my lifetime I’d like to see the signs saying “No Travellers, No Gypsies” taken down from pub windows. Its 2016 now and there is supposed to be equality.
I’d like to see us Travellers accepted without compromising our own identity.
I’d like to see more plots available and more transit sites for us to pull onto.
Back in the old days there was so much work we didn’t need to read and write. These days we have to be literate in computers and everything.
I’d like to see our children literate without having to put up with criticism at school and at home for being too clever.
I’d like to see the things we know being valued by our children and the wider community.
We’d like to be acknowledged for our successes and not ridiculed for our failures.
I’d like to see a Traveller M.P. in the houses of parliament.
We’d like to see more provision for Travellers in prison and not giving a site as a permanent address not going against us when we apply for parole.
All in all, for all the good and all the bad I’d choose the travelling life because
You’ve got your freedom; You’re your own boss; You meet a lot of new people when you are moving about.
We wouldn’t want to change it ever; It’s who we are; It’s our identi-ty; THERE’S NO BETTER LIFE.
Written by Travellers at HMP Wayland during a Text Collecting session with John Rowe
Photos used by kind permission from the new website of London Gypsies and Travellers, who work to ‘challenge perceptions and change lives’ www.londongypsiesandtravellers.org.uk