Salford Gypsy wagon

An international award has been given to full-size traditional Salford Gypsy wagon created by young people in the area.

The Vardo won third prize in the Dosta! Congress Prize for Municipalaties which is awarded across Europe for innovative and creative initiatives around Roma and Traveller communities.

It is 12 feet long (3.6 metres) and took two years to build by young travellers and travellers from Salford who teamed up with a local Salford craftsman to learn the traditional skills involved in wagon making.

Salford City Council started the project, with support from the the National Lottery Heritage fund.

The project taught the youngsters about the culture and traditions of the Gypsy and Irish travellers.

Councillor Jim Cammell, lead member for children’s and young people’s services, said it was fitting recognition for an incredible project.

He said: “Traditional vardos are true works of art. They are treasured for their beauty, cultural significance and all the skills and hard work that goes into creating them.

“The Salford Gypsy wagon is stunning and has proved a fantastic teaching aide and talking point for people to learn more about Roma and Traveller culture. Everyone who worked on it should be very, very proud of their achievement and of winning this prestigious award.”

Councillor John Warmisham, who visited Strasbourg as a member of the UK Delegation to the European Congress and the rapporteur on Gypsy Roma Traveller issues, accepted the award and added: “Not many young people can say they have built a traditional Gypsy wagon and won international recognition for doing so. It is an amazing achievement.

“Young people from a range of backgrounds built and decorated the Salford Gypsy wagon with traditional furnishings and painting. They worked during art classes in school and after school and at weekends. They gained Duke of Edinburgh awards and volunteering accreditation for their work on the vardo which cost £50,000 to build and was completed in 2019.”

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