University of Brighton graduate Samson Rattigan received a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year Honours, one of the youngest people to receive the honour.
Simon now works for a national charity works with Friends, Families and Travellers, which aims to end racism and discrimination against Gypsies, Roma and Travellers, and to “protect the right to pursue a nomadic way of life”.
The son of an Irish traveller, Samson began working for the charity as an intern while he was studying Digital Film BA(Hons) at the University and he became a youth co-ordinator for the charity after completing his degree in 2016.
Samson’s work includes helping gypsies and travellers to find places in education and providing them with support, filling in forms with them, supporting them into work, advocacy and dealing with casework.
He also provides cultural awareness training to people working in public services such as Sussex Police.
Samson received his BEM for services to Young People and Families from the Gypsy and Traveller communities in Sussex.
As for his time at Brighton, Samson said: “I enjoyed my time at University of Brighton. It had a very welcoming environment with supportive staff.
“My course was fantastic and all my classmates were great people! Studying at Brighton taught me how to conduct independent research and structure and write essays to a high standard. These skills have been incredibly useful within my job, where I frequently undertake research for Brighton and Hove Clinical Commission Group and offer recommendations on how local health services can be improved and made more inclusive towards Gypsy and Traveller communities.”