MYTHBUSTING – GYPSY KIDS: OUR SECRET WORLD

Just a couple of weeks ago, mobile phone footage circulated showing a policeman’s dog mauling the leg of a Traveller called Andy Cash. In the video, the policeman seemed unconcerned that the dog (which he was holding the lead of) had bitten into Andy’s leg and wasn’t letting go. While Andy begged him to stop it and his family screamed, the policeman finally pulled at the lead and dragged the dog, with Andy still clamped in its jaw, across the road. He was rushed to the hospital for surgery.

Romani Gypsies (English, Scottish and Welsh Gypsies plus European Roma) and Irish Travellers (a distinct separate group, from Ireland) have been recognised as ethnic groups since the Race Relations Act of 1976 and, since 2010, they’ve been protected from discrimination by law.

But, sadly, discrimination against Gypsies and Travellers is alive and well. In fact, new research this year revealed that four out of five members of the Travelling community have experienced hate crime or hate speech. Daily prejudice and abuse has become so commonplace that it’s almost been normalised, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission have called Gypsies and Travellers the most vulnerable and marginalised of all minority ethnic groups in Britain.

There are many misconceptions about Gypsies and Travellers that can feed into negative assumptions and discrimination. We’re here to set the record straight. Here’s 10 common myths about Gypsies and Travellers that need to be dispelled:

  1. They’re happy to settle on unauthorised land

Some Travellers and Gypsies have attempted to stop in unauthorised public places, but that’s because there are generally not enough authorised places for them to stop. As we learn in the show, for example, Birmingham council only has one official Traveller site, which means there’s nowhere for Travellers and Gypsies to settle when the site is full.

Unauthorised encampments are the biggest single source of conflict between Travelling communities and local settled communities, but they shouldn’t have to be. There should be more authorised sites for them to stay.

  1. They don’t pay taxes

All Gypsies and Travellers living on a local authority or privately owned sites pay council tax, rent, electricity and gas, just as people in other houses do. They also all pay VAT on their purchases, and pay petrol and road tax, the same way that everyone else does.

If Travellers and Gypsies live on unauthorised encampment (mostly not out of choice) they generally don’t pay council tax, but often that’s when they don’t have access to the services that tax payers do. Sometimes they pay local authorities directly to provide them with basic services like toilets or bins.

  1. They’re all criminals

Crimes are committed by individuals not by communities as a whole, so it’s wrong to assume that Gypsies and Travellers live criminal lives.

Although they can often experience discrimination by potential employers, Gypsies and Travellers work like everyone else, and there’s no evidence to suggest that crime rates go up in areas when Travelling communities move in.

  1. Evicting them is best for society

Every year, councils spend more than £18 million on evicting members of the Travelling community, that money could surely be better invested in providing more sites to reduce the problem of unauthorised camps and for councils to mark out more land where the Travelling community can live peacefully without fear of eviction. By law each council must provide dedicated Traveller sites for their local communities, but many of them fall woefully short in this obligation

  1. Discriminating against them is different to racism

Nope. Ever since the 2010 Equality Act, it’s been illegal to discriminate against Romani Gypsies and Irish Travellers – it’s racism.

The Traveller Movement has termed the discrimination against them as the ‘last acceptable form of racism’ because of how common and seemingly unchallenged it is, despite being no different to any other kind of racism.

  1. Kids of Gypsies and Travellers don’t go to school

It depends on the circumstances. While a 2011 study concluded that 60% of the Travelling community had no formal qualification, in Gypsy Kids: Our Secret World we witness one family that sends their three kids to school for years at a time.

We also meet one mother who removed her son from school on account of Gypsy/ Traveller-related bullying. The reasons for children belonging to the Travelling community either attending school or not are complex and individual – there’s no one rule.

Ideas towards education are increasingly changing within the community as the value of academic education is now widely accepted.

  1. They have no respect for authority

Gypsies and Travellers have had a long history of having to face the police, as the authorities are often called to evictions when families refuse to move.

These confrontations happen mostly because the Gypsies or Travellers involved feel they have absolutely nowhere else to go, and resent having to move constantly from place to place, not because they simply want to break the rules and inconvenience the police.

  1. It’s acceptable to call Gypsies or Travellers “Gyppos” or “Pikeys”

Those words are recognised as racist slurs by law and are completely unacceptable to use.

  1. Travellers live in caravans

This is a common misconception. People often think that Gypsies and Travellers live in caravans and constantly move around whereas, in fact, 90% of Gypsies and Irish Travellers around the world now live in houses.

Basically, you don’t have to travel to be a Traveller. “The word ‘Traveller’ defines an ethnic group, it does not describe a lifestyle choice.

Some groups are very mobile, but some live permanently in one area, travelling only for a few weeks or months of the year.

  1. Travellers like to keep to themselves

As we can see in Gypsy Kids: Our Secret World, many children in the Travelling community want to go to school, make friends and be accepted – that’s a universal desire! Unfortunately, because of widespread discrimination, it isn’t always easy for them to form close friendships. Many Gypsy and Traveller children are victims of bullying at school.

Members of the Travelling community often do keep to themselves because they experience isolation and exclusion when they choose to mix with those outside their close, family-based Travelling community. It’s a case of what came first, the chicken or the egg?

If you belong to the Travelling community and you’re in need of support, head to http://www.londongypsiesandtravellers.org.uk/what-we-do/ for more information and resources.

Apply for The British Talent Cup

Young riders in the British Isles can now sign up to be part of the all-new British Talent Cup in 2018 – with registration open until June 18th

The British Talent Cup is set to become a reality in 2018, designed as the perfect stepping-stone for riders from the British Isles to get onto the world stage – and applications are now open!

Providing an opportunity like no other for young talent to progress on the Road to MotoGP™, most races will take place at existing Dorna-run events – such as MotoGP™ and MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship weekends – and the riders will race on Honda NSF250R Moto3™ machinery.

On board with the Cup are world-renowned talent scout Alberto Puig and British racing legend Jeremy McWilliams, providing an incredible structure for young riders from the British Isles to get the best possible start to their careers.

The British Talent Team is the presence of this project on the world stage, in the FIM Moto3™ World Championship – the last stop on the Road to MotoGP™ that could begin today by registering to be part of the British Talent Cup. Some high performance riding experience is required, but there is no specific minimum level of road racing experience.

Talent is what the application process is looking for – now open online on www.britishtalentcup.com

Enrollment and selection:

Prospective participants can now apply online – and the Application Form will remain available at www.britishtalentcup.com from now until June 18th. Once riders have applied online, they may be invited to the Selection Event in August – if our panel of experts believes they could have what it takes.

This first ever selection program for the Cup will preface the 2017 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, where prospective riders will be put through their paces and the best offered the chance to race in the Cup’s inaugural 2018 season.

More about the programme

Inside the Gang – ep 2: More about the programme

The aim of the programme was to delve deeper into London’s gang world than we’ve ever been before – and we wanted to do it from an insiders’ perspective.

How did we contact gang members?

Through underground ‘fixers’ we were able to get in touch with both London gang members and suppliers of gang weapons who otherwise would have been unapproachable.

Gang members were asked through the fixers if they would feel comfortable appearing on Inside The Gang and filming the action themselves. If they came back to us and agreed to take part, they were all given the opportunity to decide whether or not they’d want to cover their faces and hide their identities or not. Some members, ex-gang members in particular, chose not to hide their identities, but all were given time to consider the options before they made their decision.

What did we discover?

We approached lots of different gang members for filming and what we overwhelmingly saw was the diversity of gang life.

Gangs were made up of diverse ages (many ‘olders’ were still involved in gang life as well as kids as young as 13), ethnicities (we met white, Asian, mixed race and black gang members) and, as we’ll examine more closely in the third episode, there are many women and girls involved in gang life too.

We also discovered that gang operations have expanded far further out of the city than we’d expected, as gang drug dealers are increasingly finding quiet, affluent areas in the country with a high demand for class A drugs and less supplier competition.

What now?

Inside The Gang is a documentary exploring the very real issues presented by London gang life. As broadcasters we wanted to take a non-judgemental stance and simply present the facts to our viewers. By doing this we hoped to raise awareness about the, often dire, situations gang members find themselves in and about what really goes on behind closed doors.

Click here if you’re a gang member and you want to know more about leaving your gang and who you can contact if you need support or someone to talk to.

Useful sites:

St Giles Trust

Childline

Gangsline

The Mix

Crimestoppers

Inside The Gang: Getting Out

Gangs operate in most of London’s inner cities dealing drugs, thieving and committing acts of extreme violence. The drive to gain respect among members means that inter-gang violence is ruthless, revenge escalates quickly, and young people are dying on the streets.

There are many reasons why teenagers join gangs. Sometimes it’s as simple as moving to a postcode that is dominated by gang culture, sometimes family members or friends pull them in, and often older gang members are on the lookout for young people they can initiate into their gang, to raise their own status and rise up the ranks.

Gang life can seem very glamorous – with opportunities to get rich quick – but there is much more to it than meets the eye. Along with the criminal life gang members lead comes the risk of not only going to prison or getting seriously hurt, but developing serious mental health problems.

I’m in a gang – why should I leave?

Though it may not seem like it at the beginning, there are always consequences to being in a gang:

1) Mental health problems

Being involved in gang activity is stressful and frightening, and witnessing extreme violence can cause emotional trauma. Emotional trauma impacts on your mental health not only as traumatic events happen, but for a long time afterwards.

Gang members will often develop mental health problems due to emotional trauma, like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Take ‘Gripper” in part 1 of Into The Gang. He witnessed his friend’s death, and described how he was experiencing constant nightmares, flashbacks and anxiety, reliving the traumatic event every single day. ‘Red Rum’ described how he couldn’t sleep, despite smoking weed all through the night to try and relax. These are all symptoms of PTSD.

Traumatic events can also cause psychosis, where you experience hallucinations and delusions. Bad psychotic episodes can land you in hospital and mental health institutions.

It’s important to be aware that it’s not just emotional trauma that can give you mental health problems. If you’re using drugs frequently you may be putting your mental health at risk. Smoking weed over a long period of time, for example, is linked to serious mental health conditions like schizophrenia. Click here for more info on what drug misuse can do to your brain.

Your mental health is important and mental health problems can’t be fixed overnight – if you develop a mental health problem due to the gang culture you’re living in it could take years for you to feel in control of your life again.

2) Prison

If you get caught doing gang crimes you’ll go to prison. Prison is not something to be taken lightly – you’ll waste years of your life behind bars.

It’s also a mistake to think you’ll be escaping the gang culture in prison. What if you’re put in the same cell as an opposing gang member? Prison is full of very dangerous criminals that you wouldn’t want to mess with and new inmates can get picked on. But in prison, unlike on the streets, there is nowhere to run.

3) Death

The reality is that gang members die all the time. Violence escalates quickly and for beating someone up you might get shot – revenge is always carried out and there are no rules on the street.

Gang life is a dangerous world where it’s eat or be eaten so while you’re involved in a gang, your life is in real danger. You could get yourself killed.

 

How do I leave?

It’s much easier to get into a gang than it is to leave. But, while leaving can be scary and dangerous, there is a way out and there are people and organisations out there who want to help you.

1) Make the decision – and stick to it

It’s important that you 100% make your mind up before starting the process. It may be a difficult journey, but it will be worth it in the end.

2) Contact an organisation who deals with getting gang members out

Gangsline is an organisation that’s run by ex-gang members who know the ropes. If you call them up on their confidential helpline number they can help you with your individual case and set you up on their mentoring programme.

St Giles Trust is another good organisation to get in contact with but only if you’re serious about leaving your gang. They can offer you one-to-one mentoring and can help you set up your new life away from gang crime.

I’m in a gang and I need to talk, who can I call?

If you’re feeling anxious and unhappy it’s important to talk your feelings through. When you’re in a gang it’s hard to find people you can really talk to and trust.

While organisations like Gangsline and St Giles Trust are great for helping you to leave your gang, their helplines aren’t supposed to be used for day-to-day counselling.

Call Childline’s confidential helpline or contact The Mix via phone or online chat to talk to professionals who know about mental health and can help you work through things that are worrying you.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this programme, the following websites may be able to help.

Helpful sites:

Crimestoppers

St Giles Trust

Childline

Gangsline

The Mix

Premiership Rugby is Coming to Channel 5

Live Premiership Rugby to air on terrestrial TV for first time

Premiership Rugby matches will be shown live on terrestrial television for the first time in the competition’s history, as Premiership Rugby and Channel 5 today confirm a landmark four-year deal.

The agreement will see us broadcast five live games each season from 2017-18, as well as show a highlights programme every Sunday night, covering Premiership Rugby, Anglo-Welsh Cup and Premiership Rugby 7s.

This new deal for club rugby adds to our growing sports portfolio, which includes live boxing and motor sports (including live Formula E Racing), weekly football highlights from across the EFL, as well as its acclaimed cricket highlights package showcasing all England home games. The channel also demonstrated its commitment to live sport recently by providing a terrestrial home for live cricket (also simulcast with BT Sport) for the first time in over a decade, earlier this year, when it broadcast five T20 fixtures from the Australian Big Bash League.

We’ll also be showing a weekly highlights programme. The show will feature all the action from around the grounds, and is set to be fronted by recognised names, as well as featuring the insights of former and current players.

 

Pre-Order the Book

Over the last two and a half years, Chris Tarrant has travelled, literally, all around the world filming Extreme Railway Journeys for Channel 5. Chris’s journeys have taken him to the Congo, India, Australia, Bolivia (twice), Japan, Siberia, Myanmar, Canada and Cuba, and the latest programmes see the completion of filming in Alaska, Argentina, Azerbaijan, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Chris Tarrant’s Extreme Railway Journeys brings to life beautifully not only the romance of travelling by train, but also the sights, sounds and smells of the countries and places visited, while also illuminating the customs and attitudes of the people the author encountered along the way. But, as he says, ‘I should have known what I was in for and what the word “extreme” means, when the very first show saw us filming in the Congo – where the train was six DAYS late.’

Beautifully illustrated with exclusive colour photographs, Extreme Railway Journeys is not only a record of remarkable journeys in extraordinary places by one of our shrewdest commentators. It is also a demonstration of the principle that ‘to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.’

Chris Tarrant’s Extreme Railway Journeys is available on Amazon.co.uk now!

FIA Formula E is Coming to Channel 5

We are delighted to have announced that we will be broadcasting the FIA Formula E Championship for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. Channel 5 will broadcast all FIA Formula E events live, with sister channel Spike broadcasting the qualifying rounds.

Formula E is the first all-electric motor racing series, with major players from the world of motor sport taking part. The championship is fought over by ten teams, made up of two drivers in each event across the globe, from Buenos Aires to Berlin, Mexico City to Monaco. Many of the drivers have Formula One credentials including Nick Heidfeld, Nelson Piquet Jr. and current Formula E champion Sebastien Buemi.

The sport not only embraces future technologies within motoring and motor sports, FIA Formula E also encourages fans to interact with the drivers and the sport via social media, with fans being able to vote for their favourites drivers to receive extra power or ‘FanBoost’.

The season kicks off on 9th October with coverage live from Hong Kong with Channel 5 showing every race up until New York on 30th July. FIA Formula E will complement Channel 5’s existing sport programming including EFL highlights, Test Cricket programming and boxing.