A HEREFORD-based charity has been awarded £425,000 towards continuation of its work with gypsy, Roma and traveller communities.

The Rural Media Company has been working closely with the gypsy and traveller community since the charity was founded more than 21 years ago.

It has been publishing the Travellers' Times magazine since 1998 – the only publication of its kind – which provides information, news and comment for the traveller community, service providers and the public.

The grant will mean Rural Media can build and maintain a new website, publish a free bi-annual magazine and deliver a three-year national media skills training programme for traveller families and groups.

Damian Le Bas, editor of Travellers' Times, said: “The often poorly informed debate about current UK immigration policy has exposed just how much ignorance and prejudice there exists about the history and culture of gypsies and Roma people.

“This award is timely and exceptionally good news as it means that we will be able to offer a trustworthy and authoritative platform through which the gypsy, Roma and traveller community can communicate, learn and better access services, training and employment opportunities."

Travellers’ Times started life as a campaigning newsletter published by the Law Faculty of Cardiff University, and over 14 years has been transformed into a high quality, full colour printed magazine.

The new Travellers' Times online platform and training programme will launch in April.

As part of the new programme, Rural Media will also be offering career development placements and traineeships at its offices to gypsy and travellers living in Herefordshire.

For more information email juliec@ruralmedia.co.uk