Whilst I've worked in the rail industry for over a decade, I am first and foremost a rail traveller. And although I am currently living in Madrid, I am a regular traveller on the European rail network. So when I first heard about the proposed HS2 high-speed rail plans, one of my first thoughts was "what will this do for me?"
Last month, Inside Housing reported that only 101 of the 597 Traveller pitches allocated government funding in England since 2012 have managed to secure planning permission. Without permission, it is unlikely any of the remainder will go ahead; another broken promise in the ongoing struggle for adequate Traveller accommodation in the UK.
Britain's 300,000 Gypsies, Roma and Travellers are cited by Travellers' Times (Britain's only national magazine for the community) as the 'most misunderstood and misrepresented community in the UK'. So we decided to dedicate a season of films to try to redress the imbalance, and give our Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities a platform from which they can tell their own stories.
I won't be watching the new series, though. The advertising billboards, stating 'BIGGER, FATTER, GYPSIER' disgust me and have resulted in complaints to the Advertising Standards Agency. I wish I could take credit for the defaced poster I spotted on Chapeltown Road in Leeds, which has 'MORE RACIST' graffitied under the strapline