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Jane Hutt, MS, Minister for Social Justice and Chief Whip

First published:
4 March 2024
Last updated:

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people continue to be amongst our most vulnerable ethnic minority groups and are central to the activities of our Anti-racist Wales Action Plan.

Today I am pleased to announce funding to support our Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in Wales with digital inclusion skills and winter fuel support.

Digital Inclusion

As part of the Digital Communities Wales contract, there will be a continuation of a specific work stream focused on embedding digital inclusion within organisations working with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in Wales. Through its contractor Cwmpas, the contract provides training and support to frontline staff, volunteers and organisations working with digitally excluded people to enable them to engage with and develop the digital skills of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. 

The contract will also support relevant organisations to becoming Digital Inclusion Hubs to access the National Data Bank, providing free data SIMS to community members in need, recognising that nomadic communities experience connection issues and access to reliable electricity on sites.

Activities as part of the contract also include:

  • Delivering face to face essential digital skills and digital champions training to organisations who work with the community - supporting their digital needs such as accessing online driving theory sessions for example.
  • Co-creating learning and development opportunities around digital literacy skills and confidence.
  • Delivery of practical support around building confidence with using technology and devices.

Winter fuel support 

I have also provided funding of £290k for a package of winter fuel support to the Gypsy Roma Traveller community. This package includes £95k as a top up to the Fuel Bank Foundation to support community members at risk of fuel crisis and £195k to local authorities to support broader fuel costs.

Working through a network of referral partners, Fuel Bank Foundation run a Fuel Voucher scheme aimed at providing crisis help to those households that have to pay in advance for their energy and are unable to do so. 

Fuel Bank Foundation also run a Heat Fund which can provide support to eligible households who are not connected to the main gas grid to purchase bulk heating fuel such as oil, LPG, wood, or coal. 

Added to this package of support is funding available to local authorities, meeting a minimum pitch threshold, to support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities who may not qualify for Fuel Bank Foundation support for example those who lack a pre-payment meter or those who do not meet the fuel crisis definition.

Eligible local authorities will be able to access this funding to work flexibly with their communities to provide the support which most helps their individual circumstances. 

There is more to do to support this disadvantaged community as we continue to deliver against out Anti-racist Wales Action Plan goals to ensure that we live in a truly fair and equal Wales where no-one is held back or left behind.