Activist group challenges negative stereotypes about Roma community

Local activist group Community Renewal: Rom Romeha has been active in Govanhill for over a decade.

Activist group challenges negative stereotypes about Roma community iStock

A community group challenging negative stereotypes about the Roma community in Glasgow through positive actions have helped install picnic benches in a local park.

Community Renewal: Rom Romeha (by Roma for Roma) is a local activist group which has been active in Govanhill for over a decade.

Their ethos is to spend time really listening to all different parts of the local Roma community as they seek to build skills and expertise among Roma people to support other Roma

Over the years it has organised several popular events in Govanhill and its members are always looking to benefit their local communities.

Activists from the group have now collaborated with Glasgow City Council to install the benches in the city’s Queen’s Park.

Marek Balog, Community Renewal’s Project Lead, explained how the community group decided on their latest venture: “Our role is to support the forum as they develop a shared vision for their community and take local action on issues that matter to them.

“They meet regularly at Community Renewal: Rom Romeha’s office just off Victoria Road but also listen to the wider community of Govanhill through surveys and events.

“One thing that kept coming up was usable space. As most residents in the area live in tenement buildings, Queens Park is the nearest green outdoor space, and it was felt that park picnic benches would provide more space for friends and families to meet.

“The group discussed this feedback and decided to take it further. They met with Glasgow City Council who were very helpful. and today the park benches are in place.”

Stephen Egan, Head of Parks and Streetscene at Glasgow City added: “This is a great example of the community getting involved in the management of their local greenspace and helping to improve the amenities for their benefit.

“Queen’s Park is one of the city’s most popular parks and the new benches are sure to be a welcome addition to the facilities for visitors to the park.“

This is just the latest in an impressive list of achievements for the community group, as Marek explains“Over the years, the forum has organised lots of fun events in Govanhill.

“They also regularly connect with community organisations to try and influence decisions that benefit residents and families in the area.

“As well as benefitting the local community, our hope is that the positive action taken by the group will challenge the negative stereotypes that are sometimes voiced about Roma people.”

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