Do you need professional advice?

Do you need quality, professional advice? Although the drop-in advice sessions at STAG have now stopped, Blackfriars Advice Centre is still providing a service for Travellers in the area and STAG are More »

Driving Theory Test

Passing your driving theory can be tough. If you are a Southwark resident, there is free driving theory test practice available. All you need is to have a library number. Follow the More »

Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month

Should all schools celebrate GRTHM in June? Yes, all schools should. No, but schools which have Traveller, Gypsy and Roma students should. No, no schools should. If you would like to find More »

Applying for Schools in Southwark

For the most accurate up-to-date information on applying to school in Southwark it is best to use Southwark Council’s website or call 0207 525 5337. All school applications have to be done More »

CSCS Cards

What is a CSCS Card? The CSCS Card is used by the construction industry to make sure that all workers have enough Health and Safety knowledge to work on a construction site. More »

Make Money From Your Creative Skills!

Do you make greetings cards, jewellery, prints, badges, headband, soft furnishings or anything else? Would you like to sell it in a shop? Spark is a ‘pop-up’ shop about to open in More »

Category Archives: Home

Gypsies & Travellers in Social Care

As a Traveller I didn’t think that Traveller / Gypsy children get put into care and that families would support each other which I know does happen but after seeing these figures I was very shocked. In 2012 there are 170 Traveller/Gypsy children in a care home.

Ethnicity ———————- Numbers in care in 2012
Ethnic Origin White ———– 67,050
White British ———————- 52,050
White Irish ———————— 49,910
Any other White background — 1390
Traveller of Irish Heritage —- 50
Gypsy/Roma ———————- 120

Above figures are taken from the Department for Education. (2012). Children looked
after in England (including adoption and care leavers) year ending 31st March 2012.

Now in Ireland there is a Traveller unit that ensures Traveller children are placed with Traveller foster parents. This means that a child who is taking into care will be placed with a family which understands the Traveller way of life.

In England there are 50 Irish Traveller children in care. It would be great if these children could be placed with Traveller foster carers or be adopted in the same community, as what happens in Ireland. Would you like to be a foster parent? Please contact us or visit Southwark council foster carer page on .

To read a report and interviews on Travellers/ Gypsys in Social care please click on link to research by Dan Allen from Edge Hill University. The interviews show how hard it is for Traveller children when they are put in care homes with people looking after them who don’t understand or respect their culture. This could change if there were more Travellers applying to become and being accepted as foster parents.

Xmas in Southwark 2013

1) Through the Peckham Glass

Meet at Peckham Space for a guided tour of the commissions created for the exhibition led by artist-curator Adam Walker. The tour will give an opportunity to put your questions about the work directly to the artists themselves, and discover more about the challenges and opportunities arising from creating work to show outside the usual gallery environment. The tour will last around an hour and will be followed by drinks at The Bun House where the discussion can continue. This is a free event and all are welcome.

Next tour: Saturday 17 December, 2pm. The tour will start at Peckham Space, 89 Peckham High Street, CCA, SE15 5RS

The through the Peckham Glass windows started on 10 December and are there until 6 January. The aim of this activity is to get people to come down and see the art in the windows and do some shopping whilst they are there.

2) SE17 – All Wrapped Up

Creation will staff and provide three ‘wrapping stations’, positioned along the Walworth Road, for Christmas shoppers who have chosen to support the Walworth Road and buy their Christmas presents locally. People can either wrap their presents themselves using the rolls of wrapping paper, tape and labels, provided, or one of Creation Trust’s team of wrappers will wrap your gift for you and really take the hassle out of Christmas. One gift wrapped per customer will be free of charge, all others will be wrapped for £1 donation to Mayor’s charities. Wrapping stations will be at Cooltan Arts, M&S and TD Sports.

3) Walworth Road Bags for life

Over the December shopping period, independent local shops along the Walworth Road will be giving their local customers a little extra Christmas present. Anyone spending over £20 in one of the participating businesses will get a beautifully designed bag, featuring a vintage themed picture. Incorporated in the design are the words ‘I shopped Walworth’. While stocks last.

4) Shop Showtime SE17 – Local Acts in Local Shops

Over the course of 17th, a local poet, a local rapper and musician, a local comedian and a local magician will perform along the Walworth Road, in shops and outside on the pavement, in impromptu concerts.

The initiative is designed to provide shoppers with a little light relief as they buy their Christmas presents and to make Walworth Road a more pleasant place to shop, while at the same time showcasing some of the fantastic local talent.

Performing in Showtime SE17 are:
•Natty Bo – musician and dancer, and Walworth resident from the amazing SKA and reggae bands Ska Cubano, and the Top Cats
•Nigel of Bermondsey – singer songwriter of London verses
•Viv The Spiv – Walkabout comedy act, the 1940’s wheeler and dealer
•Adam Keisner – Close up magician

5) Christmas fun at Cooltan Arts, including making Christmas Bunting, enjoying a Christmas themed wine tasting and workshops in how to create herbal gifts

6) Nunhead and Peckham bags

These are while stocks last and they are free.

Christmas Markets

Saturday 17 December – East Street Market

Meet Santa and get a present, do some Christmas shopping and enjoy plenty of festive family activities including face painting and bouncy castle.

From 11am to 3pm. Santa will be visiting between 12noon and 1pm.

Saturday 17 December – North Cross Road Market

For great gifts and stocking fillers come along to North Cross Road’s Christmas markets for handcrafted and vintage clothes and jewellery; delicious meats and cheeses, and unique art. Plus meet Santa in his grotto from 12.30pm to 1.30pm.

Saturday 17 December -The Blue Market

Location: The Blue, Southwark Park Road, SE16

Come along to our special Christmas market, join in the festive fun and activities for all the family and pick up some great gifts for your loved ones.

Saturday 17 December – Camberwell Green Market

Don’t miss Camberwell Green’s Christmas and craft market with hand crafted gifts, food and stocking fillers including Christmas toys, food, clothes and jewellery.

Saturday 24 December – East Street Market

Christmas themed market.

(Above information is from Southwarks website)

New Traveller Youth Project 2013/2014

STAG has been successful in a bid for funding from Southwark’s Youth community Restoration Fund.

we will be running a programme of youth activities and trips for Traveller young people who are aged from 13-19 yrs old. All planning will be done by young people with the guidance of the youth worker and STAG team. All participants will create a personal development plan.

The youth worker is a student from Goldsmith college.

we are hoping to use this funding as a way of rewarding and incentivising engagement with school and /or creating positive future plans for young Travellers.

Please note: More information, dates and plans will be updated as soon as there finalised.

Want a Career in Driving? Great Opportunity for Southwark Travellers!

Great news for Southwark Travellers who are interested in starting a career in lorry driving! We know there are many Southwark Travellers who would like to earn a living in lorry driving, but the cost of the test (over £1000) is too high for most. That’s why we’ve applied for funding to help 5 Southwark Travellers take the test. Lorry driving is a great way of earning a living; drivers earn above the national average and can take home £400-500 per week after tax.

STAG is looking to support 5 Travellers by funding their practical lessons and test. STAG is able to cover the costs of 5 days of training and the practical test. We are only looking to fund people who are serious. Here are some things to bear in mind:

  • Only people who are aged 21-35, have a clean licence, can pass a driver’s medical (a blood test for diabetes and levels of alcohol/drugs, eyesight test, blood pressure test and questions about your medical history) and have no pending court hearings can apply. These are not STAG’s rules but the rules for taking the test.

  • We want people who are 100% committed. To prove this commitment, you will have to study to pass the theory test and demonstrate this (taking a test in STAG’s office). You will also have to pay for your own medical (cost vary from £50-150- STAG can help you arrange your medical). Finally, you will have to complete a D2 form from the DVLA- again STAG can support you with this.

  • The theory test is difficult. Much more difficult than the theory test for a normal car. If you are a member of a Southwark library, you can practice online for free. You can practice for the test in STAG’s office if you need to. You need to pass the theory to be accepted to take the practical test. As well as this test, you will need to take a test for the Drivers’ Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) which involves more study.

  • We can only fund 5 people. We want to support a variety of people from different sites and families. However, the final decision on whether you can take the test will be down to the National Driving Centre. Even if you pass your theory and medical, you could still be turned down by the National Driving Centre’s assessor.

  • The practical test (LGV category C) is difficult, very difficult. Only 44% pass the test 1st time. We can’t pay for retakes.

  • Even if you pass, finding a job is difficult. We will support you in trying to find job interviews and help with CVs, however many people with the licence struggle to find a job as employers often want people with experience. You are not guaranteed a job even if you pass the test.

Still interested? Please let us know by calling 02073586818 or emailing STAG has all necessary paperwork in the office.

If you would like to start practising for the theory test:

  1. Become a member at a Southwark library. You will need to take a proof of address to a library to do this. If you are a member of the library, you can use the Internet for free 1 hour per day.
  2. Go to and make an account using your new library card account number.
  3. Under the heading ‘Select your test type:’ choose ‘LVG’.
  4. Start practising!

How Should Southwark Council Spend Your Money?

Southwark council is going to make savings of 7% in the next year. They are asking where the savings should be made. If you’d like to have your say- why not balance the budget yourself on Southwark’s Budget Simulator .

Southwark Council has a budget of £1.1 billion.

Last year it spent:

£105 million on Adult Services (care for adults with physical disabilities, services for adults with mental heath illnesses, care for older people, support for adults with learning difficulties etc).

£86 million on Children’s Services (child protection services, supporting vulnerable and disabled children to access education and training, youth work etc).

£72 million on Central and Support Work (Council’s finance department and billing, HR, Insurance, Council’s IT etc).

£38 million on Environment (Highways, parks and open spaces, waste and recycling, street cleaning and community safety etc)

£26 million on Housing and Community Services (Customer services such as One-Stop-Shop, homeless and housing options services, community engagement, voluntary sector grants and contracts etc).

£22 million on Public Health (Substance misuse, escual health, school nursing and immunisation, health advice etc).

£10 million on Culture, Libraries and Leisure (including sports services, museums, adult learning etc)

£3 on Regeneration and Planning (planning and transport etc).

Where would you make the savings? What should the Council spend less on? What isn’t funded enough? Let them know by using Southwark’s Budget Simulator .

Start-Up Loans for Young People Wanting to Start a Business

Over the next few months Elevation Networks will aim to distribute up to £5 million worth of loans to more than 2000 young people that need capital to start or grow a new business.

They will be given access to a mentor, monthly training, and a number of other benefits through the initiatives Global Partners (including Ebay and PayPal).

The programme is available to anyone between the age of 18 and 30 whose business is in England. Applications have more than doubled in the
last month, from 3000 to more than 8,300 in January.

For more information on the Elevation Networks Start-Up Loans Programme contact:

Alexandra Shaw –
Ronke Lawal –

About the Loan:

• The average loan amount is £2,500, there is no definite limit and the final amount will be determined by your business plan.

• There is an option of a 1 year holiday period before beginning repayment.

• The total interest for the loan is 3% + RPI.

• Repayments period can be from 1 to 5 years.

• The Start-Up loan is a personal loan, which means if 4 or 5 people from the

same company apply for a loan, all are eligible for an individual loan up to invest in their business.

To apply for a loan visit

Questions Asked at Community Council Meetings about Ilderton Rd Site

This is from the Bermondsey and Rotherhithe community council newsletter. Archie Utley from STAG asked questions about the Ilderton Road site:

Although there are no more meetings until Wednesday 2 October, there are still plenty of exciting and interesting events going on over the summer.
As promised – follow up on the questions from previous meetings (apologies for delay)

There were three public questions at the April meeting.
1. “Are councillors aware that the wall which separates Ilderton Road traveller site from the railway track is falling down and represents a serious risk to residents’ safety? It has been falling down for over 8 years, nothing has been done. The wall is owned by Railtrack, but they are not taking responsibility and repairing the wall. Please can councillors put pressure on Railtrack, so that this problem is finally resolved?”

Council officers have received an official response from Network Rail regarding their position on who is responsible for the wall in question. Officers will continue negotiating with Network Rail to resolve this issue, as a matter of urgency.

2. “The road which serves Ilderton Road traveller site is sinking. Water collects on it and in cold weather this freezes. This is a health and safety risk to residents, especially young children. Can the council repair the road?

Officers have undertaken an inspection of the road in question and found there was a need to undertake some localised remedial action. Officers are looking to arrange for a specialist civil engineering company to inspect the site in the week starting Monday 10 June 2013, to agree the best course of action. Whatever course of action is agreed on, officers will aim to complete the works before the onset of cold weather.

Free Pet Hospital

If you receive help with your Council Tax payment and Housing Benefit you may be eligible for free vet care from PDSA.

To find out, click on this link to the eligibility calculator.

If you are eligible, phone your PDSA PetAid hospital New Cross on 0208 691 0577 to make an appointment.

You will need to take these documents with you to the hospital:
Proof of benefit. A recent housing benefit letter.
Proof of identity. Driving licence/passport/ other formal ID.

An appointment will then be made for your pet to be seen, unless it needs urgent care.

At your first appointment you will be given a Client Agreement that you are asked to show each time you bring your pet for treatment.

PDSA veterinary services are restricted to companion animals that are kept in the home or in a hutch (no horses).

Please note you will be asked to make a donation to PDSA for any treatment your pet receives.

Preventive services (eg Neutering & Vaccinations) are not free. You can register 3 pets, but only 1 pedigree dog or cat per household is allowed to be registered.

New Cross PDSA Pet Hospital
The Philippa and George Adams Centre
6 Amersham Vale
New Cross
SE14 6LD

Telephone: 020 8691 0577

Eat Sleep Learn Play- Save the Children Grants for Children under 3 and Women 28+ Weeks Pregnant

Save the Children have a grant programme open for families in financial hardship with children under the age of 3 and women who are more than 28 weeks pregnant.

To qualify for a grant you must be in receipt of one of the following: Income Support; Job Seeker’s Allowance; Employment Support Allowance; Child Tax Credit (with an income less than £16,190); Working Tax Credits (disability element); or Health Start Vouchers.

The grant can help you by providing household items (no money is available) which will help children to eat, sleep, learn and play- e.g. cots, bedding, fridge, chairs, pushchair, storage, books, toys etc.

Please contact STAG if you have children under 3 or are 28+ weeks pregnant, in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits and are in need of essential items for your children. We will need to see evidence of your receipt of benefit and have to visit you at home to verify the need.

If you have children under 5-years-old, why not come to STAG’s parent toddler group every Tuesday at Leyton Square Children’s Centre from 1:30-3pm. All the children that go really love it, it’s a good place to chat with other parents, and it’s free.

No Advice Session 12th June

There is no advisor on Wednesday 12th June.

If you need to see the advisor, you can still come into STAG and we can arrange an appointment.

Otherwise, the session will be on next week (19th June).

We will be holding some meetings in the future about the changes that are being made to benefits and welfare. Please let us know if you would like to come to find out about how changes will affect you.