Picnic benches installed in park to bring Roma community together

Many people from the Roma community live in tenement flats and do not have outdoor spaces of their own.

A new space designed to bring members of Glasgow’s Roma community together has been unveiled.

Six picnic benches have been installed in Queens Park thanks to activists from the local community.

Sona Balogova said many from the Roma community live in small tenement flats without outdoor space, so many meet up with friends and family in the nearby parks.

“The problem was that people sat on the grass and the ground is usually wet, which isn’t very comfortable. But now when we want to have a meal together, we can have it here,” she said.  

“I’m proud we as Roma have done something for other community members. We’ve had good feedback from the community. They’ve told me they can now enjoy time with their family and spend time together in the park.”

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Govanhill has the largest Roma community in Scotland.

Marek Balog from charity Community Renewal, which assisted with the project, said: “Our community is very family orientated and we like to do everything together, sometimes in bigger numbers, and so outdoor space like this is really good to have to come together. 

“It’s part of life, like any other culture. People just like to come together, socialise, spend time together and have a nice time.”

One of the six benches, which were installed with the help of Glasgow City Council,  is specifically designed for wheelchair users to ensure the space is accessible for all. 

Stephen Egan, head of parks at Glasgow City Council, said: “This is a great example of the community getting involved in the management of their local green space and helping to improve the amenities for their benefit.”