It is being described as a "historic moment" for one of Scotland's most underrepresented and marginalised communities.

A new Roma cultural centre is to open in Glasgow's south side with a programme of permanent and temporary exhibitions showcasing Roma art and culture, and a community archive, featuring collections produced by and for the community.

As it approaches its 10 year anniversary of working in the Govanhill area, charity Romano Lav has announced the new centre will open in the autumn.

Sorina Milosiu, a community member and youth activist, said: "I really think it's a great opportunity to have a space for Roma people locally.

"We will have so much to do and so much to experience.  "I feel so great being a part of the Roma culture, I feel like there’s so much to learn from each other and do together."

Romano Lav said its our artist-in-residency programme will bring emerging Romani artists to Govanhill each year. 

As well as celebrating culture, it will be a centre for Roma activism and rights, with a particular emphasis on youth activism and empowerment. 

Community Catalysts, which is a grassroots equality and human rights programme funded by the Scottish Government’s Equality and Human Rights Fund, will also be based in the centre.

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This programme trains a new cohort of local Roma youth each year to become activists in their community and beyond, with each cohort of Roma youth co-teaching the next.

The centre will also function as a community hub, creating much-needed recreational and social space. 

Rahela Cirpaci, Romano Lav Project Co-coordinator, said: "Our dream is finally coming true.

"Opening a Roma cultural centre has been our dream for the community but also for all Roma. 

"It will be such a wonderful and significant space for the young people to call their own and feel empowered - as well as the whole community. 

"As a Roma woman, I feel so proud to be a part of this project and this community, as well as to encourage youth activism. 

"I feel like so many things will be possible in the new centre."

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Govanhill has long been home to several Roma communities who settled in the area from, among other places, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia.

Roma people have reported racism and discrimination in Glasgow and Romano Lav was set up to provide advocacy for adults and young people in Scotland.

Ashli Mullen, Creative Director of Romano Lav, said: "We’re thrilled to bring Scotland’s very first Roma cultural centre to Scotland’s most diverse neighbourhood which the vast majority of its Romani people call home.

"It is almost impossible to overstate the importance of establishing this space.

"It has been such a longstanding ambition for our organisation and for our young people, in particular. 

Now, all of their genuinely transformative work has a home of its own, from which it can grow even further still. 

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"Creating this space is about harnessing and building community power.”

The centre will also offer a range of community activities, combining events open to all with targeted activities for specific groups, such as the Roma Sisters Together wellbeing programme and a mother-baby playcare group. 

The charity said it had been "inundated" with requests to establish a Roma space or a community centre for almost as long as it has been in existence.

Thanks to increased staffing levels and increased capacity, Romano Lav said, it is ready to pursue this long-term goal.

Toni Bruce, Romano Lav Project Co-coordinator, said: "We’re absolutely delighted to be able to provide a hub for the community alongside much-needed cultural space. 

"There are so many incredible Romani artists out there, and it’s really exciting that a dedicated space to showcase Romani art and culture will be here in Glasgow. 

"What is even more exciting is the potential that we are seeing in the young people locally, both in the arts and in their activism, and the space will first and foremost be for them to flourish in and to take ownership of."

The centre has seen investment from the Co-op Foundation’s Future Communities Fund and the People’s Postcode Trust, alongside Romano Lav’s existing core funding from the Scottish Government’s Equality and Human Rights Fund. 

It will open in Autumn 2023 following significant renovations in time for Romano Lav’s 10th anniversary. 

Romano Lav is currently raising funds to support its renovations of the space - see

Fatima Uygun, a Trustee of Romano Lav, said: "This is a historic moment for the Roma communities in Scotland, a unique place for them to preserve and celebrate their culture and identity and share it with the wider Scottish community."