Leeds Gypsy and Traveller charity wins national award

A Leeds charity that gives a voice to and improves the quality of life for the Gypsy and Traveller community has won a prestigious national award.

Leeds Gypsy and Traveller Exchange (Leeds GATE) has beaten more than 350 organisations from all over the UK to be one of the eight winners of the 2018 GSK IMPACT Awards, a national award that recognises charities that are doing excellent work to improve people’s health and wellbeing. The charity will receive £30,000 in funding as part of its prize, as well as expert support and development from The King’s Fund.

Lisa Weaks – Assistant Director of Leadership and Organisational Development, The Kings Fund; Helen Jones – CEO, Leeds GATE , Elizabeth Spaven – Chair, Leeds GATE; Katie Pinnock – Director of UK and Ireland Charitable Partnerships, GSK

Leeds GATE offers support to the estimated 3,000 people from the Gypsy and Traveller community in Leeds and the surrounding area, helping to address high rates of long-term illness and improve understanding of the community. Many members of the community struggle with accessing healthcare due to issues of trust and lower literacy levels and, for some families, not having a permanent address. Leeds GATE supports people to access services and works with the NHS to help it better understand the barriers community members face.

The charity’s work with local government has helped halve the number of unauthorised encampments in Leeds, which has meant that more members of the community have the opportunity to register with GP practices and schools, while it accompanied people to more than 1,500 appointments such as welfare tribunals and GP appointments last year. The charity also provides outreach health advocacy.

Katie Pinnock, Director of UK and Ireland Charitable Partnerships at GSK, said:

“Leeds GATE has done great work in supporting a community that has some of the worst health outcomes in the UK. It is doing really important work in helping the Gypsy and Traveller community access services, and in supporting public services to better engage with this community.

“The judges were particularly impressed by how the local community is actively involved in shaping services and leading the charity. Leeds GATE is also a good example of a charity that has a local focus but which has been able to become a national voice for its community.”

Helen Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Leeds GATE, said:

“We are delighted because this award shows the standard of work we are doing here. Particularly given the negative stereotypes around this community, it is fantastic that the award recognises the quality of an organisation that is the result of the hard work of Gypsy and Traveller people.

“This award also offers us the chance to work with and learn from some top charities working in other areas and to benefit from the leadership development. This means that as well as recognising that we are already a fantastic organisation, the award will open up support that will enable us to develop into a world-class one.”

Developing leaders in the charity sector is an important aim of the GSK IMPACT Awards programme, which has now been running for more than 20 years, and Leeds GATE will have access to training and leadership development tailored to its needs. It will also be invited to join the GSK IMPACT Awards Network, a national network of almost 80 award-winning health and wellbeing charities working together to develop their leaders, find new ways of working, and support others.

Leeds GATE received its award at a ceremony held at the Science Museum in London on 17 May 2018, along with seven other GSK IMPACT Award winners.