East European Roma – Cultural Awareness

26 September

Conference Aston, Birmingham


Gabriela Smolinska-Poffley
Roma Support Group
Mihai Calin Bica
Roma Support Group


September 26, 2018 - 9:30 am


September 26, 2018 - 3:45 pm


Conference Aston Meeting Suites, Aston Triangle, Birmingham, B4 7ET   View map

An increasing number of service providers are coming into contact with Roma migrants and refugees from Eastern Europe. Many have little specific knowledge of Roma communities and this can make it difficult and time-consuming to know how to approach clients and how to address their problems.

Roma families can be wary of engaging with statutory services whose approach, particularly to issues such as child protection, may be very different to their own cultural precepts. In addition, the ability of Roma families to trust statutory services has been undermined by claims of ‘forced adoption’ which are widely believed in Roma communities.

However, Roma communities have a high level of need, and a greater understanding of their culture and experiences can transform relationships.

This Cultural Awareness Training will include an introduction to Roma culture and traditions, language and history. Reference will be made to the differences between Romanian, Polish and Slovak Roma. This will provide the backdrop to practically oriented sessions which will look at barriers to accessing services, and more effective ways to engage with Roma families.

The sessions will include case studies relating to different service areas and challenges such as parental engagement with public services, communication barriers, and communities’ understanding of UK norms.

The training will be provided by the Roma Support Group, the longest established community based Roma agency in the UK.

The trainers will specifically make time to address issues raised by participants, and will also be available at break times to talk to delegates on a one-to-one basis.

Participants can expect to gain an understanding of the following areas:

  • Roma origins, brief history, experience in the UK, cultural customs and taboos
  • Roma family structures
  • Barriers experienced by Roma in accessing mainstream services
  • Better engagement and communication with the Roma individuals and families
  • Health taboos and culturally sensitive issues
  • Roma communities’ experiences with authorities
  • Concerns related to community cohesion
  • Ways forward in improving community relations
  • Good practice in working effectively with Roma individuals and families
  • Clear tools for engaging with the community
  • One of the training team is from a Roma community


Comments from participants on the previous cultural awareness training

“Excellent overall picture of culture and how to engage.”

“Brilliant training. Good balance of listening and interaction.”

“Learnt a lot more than expected.”

“Brilliant stuff, the enthusiasm of the presenters was great. Learned loads, very approachable and knowledgeable, spoke from experience.”

9.30 – 10.00


10.00 – 11.15

Understanding Roma families in the context of their history and experiences


  • Introduction and aims of the training
  • Overview of the Roma Support Group
  • Roma origins and history and their impact on how Roma families live today
  • Roma in the UK (differences between GRT groups, numbers of Roma in the UK)

11.15 – 11.30

Coffee break

11.30 – 12.40

Culture and tradition

  • Film – Romanian Roma
  • Family
  • Cultural taboos
  • Engagement

12.40 – 1.30


1.30 – 2.20

Unpicking the challenges: why are Roma families “hard to reach”?


  • Interactive case study

2.20 – 2.35

Tea/coffee break

2.35 – 3.35

Positive ways to engage with Roma families: examples of good practice and useful tools for engaging


  • Models of good practice and tools for positive engagement with Roma

3.35- 3.45

Evaluation and close

The Roma Support Group is based in London and has been working with East European Roma refugees and migrants since 1998. Members of the Roma community are involved in all aspects of the organisation.  The Roma Support Group offers Roma families a variety of services, and works to promote an understanding of Roma culture in the UK.

The Roma Support Group has worked extensively with a very wide range of statutory and voluntary sector service providers.

This Cultural Awareness Training will benefit individuals working across all services, from the health sector to the police.

The delegate fee:

£135 + VAT per place

A *team deal discount is available when you book 5 places together

£550 + VAT

Please ring 0115 9163104 for further information.

The delegate rate includes an information pack, lunch and refreshments throughout the day.


Booking Terms and Conditions

Cancellations received up to and including 5th September 2018 will be refunded in full less an administration fee of 25%. Cancellations received after this date will be liable for payment in full.

Team deals are not cancellable, but substitute delegates will always be accepted.

The full invoice amount will remain payable if you fail to attend the event, however, substitute delegates will be accepted up until, and including, the day of the event.



Confirmation of booking:

Your booking will be confirmed by email where possible (and by fax or post otherwise), and you will be provided with directions to the venue and details on nearby hotel accommodation. If you do not receive such acknowledgement, please contact Central Conference Consultants Ltd on 0115 916 3104.

The training will take place in Birmingham City Centre:

Conference Aston Meeting Suites

Aston University,

The Aston Triangle,


B4 7ET

Venue telephone – 0121 204 4300

New Street, Snow Hill and Moor Street train stations are all within 20 minutes walk of the venue or a 5 minute taxi journey.

Car parking and direction information

Follow this link for a downloadable map, directions and car park information:  http://www.conferenceaston.co.uk/attending-an-event/how-do-i-get-to-you/

There are pay and display car parks on-site but spaces must be booked in advance – follow the link above to do this.


 There is a hotel on-site in the Aston Business School

Follow this link for costs, details of rooms and booking information: