“We want a peaceful life without foul abuse” say travellers

“We’re just an Isle of Wight family who want to live our nomadic life and not be subject to this horrid, racist abuse.”

That was the message from Theresa, the mum of the family of Romany gypsies camped out in their caravans in a field near Smallbrook this week.

She told the County Press how she had had to sit up with her eight-year-old daughter on Monday night after comments on media stories left them fearful of attack.

“It’s not nice to have a child go through that…they don’t understand.”

Read more: Council investigate travellers on site.

“At 1am this morning there were people driving by, sounding their horns and shouting.”

“We don’t particularly want to be here but we have nowhere else to go.

Theresa and the other six members of her family (four adults and three children) had to leave Thorness Bay Holiday Centre in March after coronavirus struck, and the site closed.

Isle of Wight County Press: The travellers at the Smallbrook field.The travellers at the Smallbrook field.

Previously they had been at Waverley Caravan Park in East Cowes.

After a spell at Westridge, where other travellers helped them with a pitch, they moved on to the Smallbrook area.

Theresa said she had been having good conversations with the police and the council, who ‘had been lovely’, and there was no problem.

Theresa said: “We have been on the Island since 2009 and the men in the group all work here. We pay our council tax and our bills and I was volunteering at the Isle of Wight Zoo until recently.

“But this racist abuse is just so foul and shocking…it seems that travellers are the last acceptable target for racism.”

Isle of Wight County Press: The travellers at Smallbrook.The travellers at Smallbrook.

Asked what would be her ideal outcome to their housing crisis, Theresa said: “If someone could just offer us a pitch with waste, water and facilities we would be happy to pay for it.

“Lockdown really did for us because we would happily spend our time in places like Waverley and Thorness and we always kept our pitch clean and didn’t have any complaints.”

Isle of Wight County Press | News