Last month The Big Issue Foundation acknowledged the success of the Roma drop-in service that began in early 2017 alongside our project partners SARI. By throwing a celebration dedicated to Roma culture, heritage and history we intended to acknowledge the incredible contributions to the community from Bristol’s Roma Population.
The invitation was extended to all Big Issue vendors, with 14 making it to the event on the day. Celebrations included Roma inspired food and drinks, several Roma artefacts contributed by Bristol Museum and an afternoon Crochet class.
The drop-in has been active since the beginning of the year, and in this time has succeeded in helping huge amounts of vulnerable people whilst challenging discrimination against Roma vendors accessing services. Successes have been so apparent that the drop-in has attracted the attention of Bristol City Council and of Bristol based employment, who have requested to engage with the Big Issue Vendors who have built up great connections within the community.
Check out this brilliant video of vendor Craig getting in the spirit of celebrations and trying watermelon for the first time below!
What’s more, the event has inspired us to run similar celebrations every 6 weeks, with the next one set to mark Jamaican Independence Day, in early August.
The Big Issue foundation has also recently celebrated the successes of its volunteer run English classes for Roma Vendors in Birmingham. You can read more about this story here or if you have any great ideas or just want to get involved in volunteering with us please click here.
We at the Big Issue Foundation are committed to ending social exclusion for all individuals, and are incredibly grateful to be involved in the great work being done here to encourage people on their journeys back into the mainstream.