Much has been written about Sheffield’s Page Hall in recent years, a suburb made up of crowded streets north of the city centre.

It has become infamous for street fights, Covid lockdown breaches, and litter piling up on the streets. It is one of the poorest areas of Sheffield, where educational expectations and employment levels are low.

However, it is home to a multicultural population with one of the largest sections consisting of Slovak Roma, many of whom immigrated to Sheffield after Slovakia joined the EU in 2004. I was honored to be invited to visit Page Hall with David Kandrac. a Roma consultant and interpreter and a Sheffield City Council learning mentor supporting Roma youth.

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Before heading to Page Hall, I met David and his wife at their home in Crookes; moved to Crookes with his wife and children in 2019, however he says finding a landlord willing to rent them a property was not easy, but his qualifications, as well as references from colleagues and enough in his wallet to cover a very high deposit helped.

He said: “Being a Roma, especially coming from Page Hall, I was turned down twice. I can’t prove it was because I was a Romani, but the properties were still available after the turnout.”

While I was there I was treated to a Roma style coffee which certainly helped my conversational powers and energy levels to say the least. As we chatted, the family, eager to show the ignorant Englishman a little about gypsy culture, played a YouTube video of the gypsy hymn Gelem Gelem, by Slovak-Roma artist Jan Pohlodko.


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