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Tackling health inequalities among Suffolk travelling communities

A new DVD has been launched which Suffolk's Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community created to signpost others to services which will help improve their health and wellbeing.

Called "The Wheel Of Life", the DVD has been put together by Gypsy filmmaker and journalist Jake Bowers. It was made with, by and for the community to help tackle inequalities which mean Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people across the UK experience poorer access to healthcare and worse health outcomes. This includes low life expectancy, high co-morbidity, poor mental health and poor infant and maternal health.

The film was made at the Midsummer Fair in Cambridge and at various locations across Suffolk, and features members of the travelling community giving an insight into their history and current state of health from cradle to grave. It also includes interviews with staff working in a variety of healthcare settings, such as GP surgeries and Ipswich Hospital's maternity unit, and gives contact details for all services featured to show people where to go for help.

The idea for The Wheel Of Life DVD came from travellers, who told community development workers from Suffolk Wellbeing Service and VoiceAbility about Jake and suggested a film would be a good way of raising awareness of the services which are available. It was funded by the National Lottery's Awards for All scheme.

Nettie Burns, locality manager of NSFT's Suffolk Wellbeing Service, said: "We hope that this film will play an important role in helping to tackle health inequalities by introducing Suffolk's health services to the travelling community and showing where they can go to find help to have good health and keep well.

"The Wheel Of Life showcases the wide variety of health services available across the county, including physical and emotional wellbeing, midwifery, diabetes, GP and cancer services, as well as contact numbers to make it easy to get in touch with them.

"It received excellent feedback during the launch and we hope it will be warmly welcomed by the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community."

The Wheel Of Life has also been produced in the Romani language to make it as easy as possible for Roma communities to access. It is believed that this is the first time this has been done. Both versions are being distributed across the county by Suffolk County Council and the One Voice 4 Travellers charity. To watch it, visit:  

For more information about the Suffolk Wellbeing Service, which offers support to help people to improve their wellbeing and cope with stress, anxiety and depression visit:  ‚Äč