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Project: In Fair Health? A pilot study of the health and wellbeing status of travelling showpeople in two locales

In Fair Health? aims to determine the health status, needs and trends among members of the Showmen/Fairground communities, identify barriers that hinder or prevent Showmen accessing appropriate healthcare, and make recommendations for practical solutions to enhance access to care and screening for this population.

The project is the UK's first known study of the physical and mental health of Travelling Showpeople.

Undertaken in Cambridgeshire and Greater Manchester, the pilot study involves conducting surveys, interviews, focus groups, and photo-elicitation workshops with Showmen.

It also includes an online survey for health professionals, and a discussion group bringing both Showmen and health workers together.

This research is important because, while Showmen have long been recognised as a discrete community related to Gypsy, Traveller and Roma (GTR) populations, they were only included in the UK Census for the first time in 2021, and very little is known about their needs and circumstances by public bodies.

In Fair Health? asks:

  • What level of health care need exists for Travelling Showmen populations and how do they access health care when resident in Yards or travelling for employment?
  • What are the most commonly identified health conditions experienced by the communities?
  • How do health professionals engage with the populations and what level of cultural understanding do they have of the health care needs of this group?
  • How can Showmen and health professionals collaborate to enhance understanding of health conditions and risk factors and enhance health literacy for the populations?
  • What is required to enhance and increase levels of culturally appropriate health care support provided to the populations and reduce barriers to access to care. and h needs/barriers to accessing support and mutually?

The objectives of In Fair Health? are to:

  • Enhance awareness of the health needs and status of Travelling Showmen both amongst the communities themselves, and also for health professionals.
  • Make recommendations for practical solutions to enhance access to care and screening for this population (particularly when travelling).
  • Identify gaps in health literacy knowledge amongst Showmen.
  • Identify levels of knowledge and support the development of cultural competence for health care providers and commissioners supporting the Showmen community.

The project team are currently in the data collection phase. They plan to produce a report and briefing paper for healthcare professionals and a minimum of two academic and practice-focussed journal articles.

They also anticipate that they will explore the potential for, and help develop, training for healthcare professionals working in localities with a large number of Showmen’s Yards. This will focus on growing outreach, advancing health workers' cultural competency, and raising awareness of the prevalence of particular conditions amongst the communities.

They additionally intend to develop culturally appropriate health education materials, as well as further proposals with regard to accessible health information outreach and screening opportunities.

The project's first outputs are due to be produced in spring 2023. You can keep up to date with the project on the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Health Collaboration East of England website.


17 March 2023

In Fair Health? team to introduce new research at Cambridge Festival

On 22 March 2023, Prof Margaret Greenfields, Research Assistant and PhD student Sophie Coker, and Sheldon Chadwick of the Showmen’s Mental Health Awareness Charity will present their research findings on the health experiences of Travelling Showmen, followed by a panel discussion. There will also be the opportunity to view Mary Humphrey's Images from Showmen’s Lives photography exhibition.

Find out more about the In Fair Health? event at the Cambridge Festival
6 October 2022

In Fair Health? team to showcase research at Chelmsford Science Festival

Members of the In Fair Health? team will be at Chelmsford's Meadows Shopping Centre on 13 October 2022 with fun, interactive fairground activities for all the family. Drop by to learn more about the life, culture and work of Travelling Showmen and the health and wellbeing challenges that they face.

Find out more about the In Fair Health? event at the Chelmsford Science Festival
1 September 2022

Images from Showmen's Lives exhibition comes to ARU's Cambridge campus

Images from Showmen's Lives, an exhibition of photos created by Mary Humphrey to engage participants in the In Fair Health? project, will be on display on ARU's Cambridge campus throughout September for World Fun Fair Month 2022.