The Routes Project

Implementation period: March 2009 – March 2013

This project was led by the Manchester International New Arrivals, Travellers and Supplementary Schools Team (INA/T/SS Team) in partnership with the BHA for Equality; Big Life Company and Manchester Adult Education Service, amongst others.

The INA/T/SS Team have had direct and close contact with the Romanian Roma community through supporting access to education, signposting to other services and working with partners in schools to ensure successful induction and to extend and strengthen provision. The core of the INA/T/SS Teamwork with BHA for Equality was assertive outreach work with children and families in the new Roma community. The Routes Project works in an holistic way which builds on existing strengths of newly arrived families, identified the needs of the whole family and seeks address these. There is a continuous relationship between outreach worker and family which results in empathy, understanding and trust.

The project also support families to access the right to health services to improve their quality of life. Each family was allocated an outreach worker following a referral to the routes and are then part of an ongoing action and case review until their outcomes are met. As part of this process, the INA/T/SS Team consulted with over 40 members of the Romanian Roma community about their needs in terms of accessing education and finding employment. It was during this process that a group of young men with bilingual skills were identified and partnership agencies were subsequently offered training and support to develop the skills needed within schools and community groups. While the INA/T/SS Team employed two of the group as bilingual classroom assistants in a local secondary school, the Big Life Company funded placements for five more of the group.

The Big Life Company started to develop a skills development programme for young people, including Roma, which was very successful. They also worked closely with the BHA for Equality, making a partnership agreement that, once Roma pupils had been through a skills development programme to become interpreters, they would sign up with the BHA for Equality as interpreters. This meant that from this point onwards Roma interpreters would be readily available for all agencies across the city. This multi-agency work linked up well with the work of two outreach workers to conduct outreach work in schools, and three more to work holistically with the community to identify newly arrived Roma families. Collectively, these developments provided a means of working with the new community to gain a deeper understanding of their past experiences, strengths and aspirations.

Between December 2009 and June 2010, the INA/T/SS Team conducted an internal research based on a series of structured interviews with families and young people from the Romanian Roma community in Manchester’s Longsight and Levenshulme. Research results can be found on a report ‘What’s working: conversations with Manchester’s Romanian Roma community living in Longsight and Levenshulme’. Likewise, an additional research set out to examine the role of multi-agency partnership work engaging Roma groups across England and supporting Roma children into school. The research had three specific aims:

  • To explore the challenges faced by those working with Roma
  • To examine how multi agency partnership work impacts on the numbers of Roma children in secondary schools
  • To assess the potential impact of proposed changes to the school funding system

The conclusion of this research can be found on the report: ‘A report into the impact of multi-agency work supporting Roma children in education’ published by the BHA in December 2012.


Project Team:


  • A report into the impact of multi-agency work supporting Roma children in education, December 2012

Author: John Lever



  • What’s working: conversations with Manchester’s Romanian Roma community living in Longsight and Levenshulme, 2010

Authors: Julie Davies and Jane Murphy


  • Long Roads. Roma Heritage Teaching Toolkit, 2011

Author: The BHA for Equality


This project was funded by: Migrant Impact Fund; Children’s fund ABG and Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant (EMAG) and funding from former Working Neighbourhood Fund (WNF) allocation to Children’s Services