Information on the Traveller Health Programme

Traveller Health Brochure.pdf

Westmeath Traveller Project was established in September 2008, due to the identified need to have a more co-ordinated approach to working with the Traveller Community in Westmeath.

The Project is funded by the HSE through the Traveller Health Unit supported by the Local Community Development Programme.

The Project works in Partnership with many organisations in Co. Westmeath including:

  • Westmeath County Council
  • RAPID Programme
  • Midland Regional Youth Services
  • Citizens Information Centre
  • Involve/ Voice of The Traveller
  • HSE – Traveller Health Unit
  • Midland Traveller Conflict Mediation Initiative.

The Project is also linked to national organisations, Pavee Point and the Irish Traveller Movement. The Westmeath Traveller Project is based in the Business Development Centre in Parnell Square, Athlone. The Project was set up to work with and alongside Travellers in Westmeath and also to:

  • Provide training opportunities for Traveller men and women.
  • Promote a positive image of Travellers.
  • Offer information on services that are available.
  • Refer Travellers to relevant agencies.
  • Link with agencies that work with or for Travellers.
  • Support capacity building for Travellers.
  • Refer Travellers to relevant organisations, in relation to housing, education, health and social welfare

 Accommodation Worker

Our Accommodation Worker provides information, advice and advocacy through an outreach service to Travellers in the Westmeath area. They also work with Westmeath County Council and Athlone Town Council to help families with housing applications and represents Travellers on the Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee (LTACC)

If you need any information or advice re accommodation contact Christine Joyce 087-0995145

Cultural Awareness Training

Cultural awareness training is delivered by Christine Joyce and Caroline Nevin who are Community Development/Health Workers for Travellers in Westmeath.

The Training is delivered free in the midlands to all staff who work with or for Travellers. The training looks at Traveller history, accommodation, education, discrimination, policy and legislation.

The workshops can be delivered for a half day or full day as required.

To avail of these workshops you can contact Christine Joyce on 087-0995145 or Caroline Nevin on 086-8861905.

Who can participate in the Cultural Awareness Training?

Training is open to anyone who is involved in providing a service to Travellers or who is interested in Traveller Culture

Community, Voluntary and Statutory organisations can request the training for their organisation

The training is FREE to anyone in Co. Westmeath and can cater for between 8 – 23 participants.

Blackberry Lane Development Group in Athlone

Blackberry Lane Development Group received €9,010 from the VEC Young People Facilities Services Fund in 2011 and used this money to refurbish the Community Centre in Blackberry Lane Halting Site.The money was used to buy new security window grills, new cooker, fridge, table and chairs for the kitchen. This project was carried out in partnership with Midland Regional Youth Services Athlone.

The project helped provide hot snacks for children attending the Afterschool Service (which is provided by Westmeath Community Development Ltd.)

Conflict Resolution Training Programme for Young Travellers

Westmeath Traveller Project worked in partnership with Midland Regional Youth Services (MRYS) and the Midland Traveller Conflict Mediation Initiative (MTCMI) to set up a conflict resolution training programme for Young Travellers in Mullingar. The lads meet up once a week for two hours, in the Grange Resource Centre. 

If you are interested in joining this group you can contact Christine Joyce on 087-0995145

Primary Healthcare Project for Travellers

Primary Healthcare Projects for Travellers have been set up all over the country since 1994.  The Project is peer-led and employs trained Community Health Workers who come from the Traveller community itself.

Westmeath Community Development with financial backing and support from the HSE have established a Primary Healthcare Project for Travellers in Westmeath. This project actively supports the participation of Travellers in all areas of health development within the community. This project is peer-led and employs trained community health workers, all of whom are members of the Traveller community. These community health workers carry out health promoting activities on an out reach basis focusing initially in Athlone and Mullingar. 

Grange Mens Group in Mullingar

Grange mens group was set up in January 2013 in partnership with Midlands Regional Youth Services, Mullingar.  There are 13 Traveller men attending – meeting on Tuesday afternoon from 11am to 2pm.  The group are currently engaged in woodwork/carpentry skills training

Grange Girls Group in Mullingar

Grange girls group were set up in February 2011 in partnership with Midlands Regional Youth Services Mullingar. There are 20 girls that meet up once a week for an hour. 

The girls take part in lots of different activities such as snooker, football, basketball, cookery, art/crafts, hair and beauty, day trips are also planned.

Michael’s Park Womens Group in Mullingar

Michael’s Park Women’s Group Mullingar meet every two weeks . They have completed the Triple P Parenting Programme, Healthy Eating Programme, hairdressing, arts &crafts and are currently doing beauty and skin care. Different guest speakers have given talks about stress management and community development. 

The group has attended events such as the National Traveller Women’s Forum and a seminar on Travellers’ Education.

Michael’s Park Youth Club

This group was set up in January 2013 in partnership with Midlands Regional Youth Services Mullingar.  The group meets every Monday evening from 5 to 6pm.  13 children attend.

Women Against Violence Group in Athlone

The Women against Violence group meet up every Wednesday from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. There are 11 Traveller women taking part. The group begins with a guest speaker discussing stress or conflict mediation. This is followed by some art & craft work, cookery skills or health & wellbeing. 

The group is currently working on some 3D photography.

Project Staff

Linda Jo Quinn, Project Manager, contact 0906494555 ljquinn@westcd.ie

Christine Joyce, Community Development Health Worker contact 087 0995145 cjoyce@westcd.ie

Caroline Nevin, Community Development Health Worker contact 086 8861905 cnevin@westcd.ie

Vacancy: 1 Full Time PHCP Co-ordinator/Community Dev Officer for Travellers

Westmeath Community Development

(in collaboration with HSE)

 Applications are invited for the following post


1 Full Time PHCP Co-ordinator/Community Dev Officer for Travellers


(One year contract which may be extended subject to funding)


The position will be based in Mullingar, but working throughout Co Westmeath, and the primary role will be to Co-ordinate the Primary Health Care Project and carry out Community Development work with Travellers in Westmeath.

Ideal Candidates should have:

  • 3rd level qualification in Health Promotion/Community Development
  • At least 3 years’ experience of working in a community development setting.
  • Experience of staff support and supervision
  • Very good understanding and knowledge of Traveller Policy
  • Good Communication, Facilitation and IT skills
  • Experience of working in partnership with statutory, community and voluntary agencies.
  • Knowledge and or experience of Health Promotion in a Community Development Setting
  • A good understanding of the Social Determinants of Health
  • Full clean driving licence and access to use of a car

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Press Release- Traveller Project

traveller launchOn Friday 26th September, Westmeath Community Development were delighted to officially launch the “Primary Health Care Project for Travellers in Westmeath .

This is a peer led programme which commenced in Westmeath in September 2013, after much development work and training of Travellers in the County.

The PHCP employs 5 part time community health workers, all of which are members of the Travelling community. Since taking up the role, they have received a great deal  of  training including Triple P, first Aid, computers, effective listening skills, child safety awareness and conflict mediation. The PHCP is co-ordinated by Collette Tuohy.


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Presentaion of Certificates to the Primary Health Care Project

Presentaion of certs to Primary Healthcare Workers

Pictured above from Left to Right are: Mary Myers Community Health Worker, Teresa Nevin Community Health Worker, Mary Nevin Community Health Worker, Nancy Power Co-ordinator Traveller MABS, Colette Tuohy Co-ordinator Primary Healthcare Project for Travellers, Christine Joyce Community Health Worker, Dermot Sreenan Community Education Worker National Traveller MABS, Christine Joyce Westmeath Traveller Project, Marie Myers Community Health Worker.

Presentation of certificates to the Primary Healthcare Project for Travellers in the offices of Westmeath Community Development Ltd. Clonmore Industrial Estate, Mullingar for those who successfully completed A Way of Life MABS Money Management course.

The course ran over five consecutive weeks and was facilitated by Dermot Sreenan, Community Education worker with National Traveller MABS, (Money Advice & Budgeting Service) and also included a new modue entitled Overcoming Illegal Debt. Dermot Sreenan stated that: "There was great enthusiasm shown by the women healthcare workers for the knowledge contained in this course". Co-ordinator Colette Touhy said "The training has given the Community Health Workers a new understanding of managing money and the services MABS provides and more importantly, that they will bring the message back to their own community, that there is help for people who are struggling to pay bills or who are burdened with debt". 

A Community Health Worker said "I found the training useful and interesting and I will be encouraging other Travellers to open a credit union account and to get help, if they need it, from MABS."

Another Community Health Worker said "I am glad I did the training - I learned a lot about saving money and shopping around for better deals - even with electricity". Primary Healthcare Projects for Travellers have been set up all over the country since 1994.

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