Wednesday, 24 June 2009

I attended the Storytellers Awards and Achievement Awards Ceremony at the Civic Hall this evening...

The Awards were part of Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month here in Leeds and featured music by William Langton and portraits by Ferdinand Koci. Gypsies, Roma and Travellers are the largest ethnic minority community in the European Union with over 300,000 here in the UK. These communities have enriched our culture through their history, storytelling, music and dance. They are also the most marginalised communities suffering extreme levels of prejudice, discrimination and under-achievement.

The Awards were presented by the Lord Mayor, Cllr Judith Elliott and celebrated the achievements of some wonderful young people from primary and secondary schools across the city. I was particularly pleased to see that amongst the winners receiving an award was Liam Collins from Corpus Christi Catholic College. Liam was nominated by Peter Fusco, Deputy Headteacher, at Corpus Christi who has brilliantly supported Liam during his time at the school. I first met Liam six years ago with Tommy Collins,his dad and it is deeply encouraging that Liam's academic and social progress has been so good and it was great to see that Liam has become a confident, sensible and objective young man who is going on to study ICT at college.

Peter Saunders and his talented colleagues have championed the education of Gypsy Roma Traveller children and their pioneering work led to the introduction nationally of Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month. This second celebration was even bigger and better that last year and recognised so many wonderful young people with so much potential.

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