He is married to Margareta, who is originally from Switzerland, and they have three children, Rebecca, Naomi and Leo.
Martin Burrell's first vocation was as a professional clarinettist - a career which began in Sweden and ended in Scotland. Called then to serve in the Church of England, Martin’s first post was as curate of St Mary's Bredin, Canterbury. He then became vicar of St Dunstan's, Cranbrook in Kent. It was there that he was first drawn to the English Romanies living in the parish. Their ancestors had migrated to England at the time of Henry VIII. Aware of how deeply they were changing his outlook on life and faith, in 2009 he wrote up his experiences in “The Pure in Heart - An Epistle from the Romanies.”
Moving on to become vicar of Christchurch, Bushmead in Luton, he became aware of the growing number of Roma families from Eastern Europe who were arriving in town in search of work. Clearly, these people were “chips of the same block” as his Romani friends in Kent! Martin embarked on learning the Romani language, sensing that this would be the route to the soul of this most marginalised group in Europe. As he got to know more Roma families, Luton Roma Church began to take shape and Martin was appointed Chaplain to the Gypsies, Travellers and Roma for the Diocese of St Alban's. With the encouragement of the Diocese St Alban’s, Luton Roma Trust was born in 2015 with the specific aim of giving the Roma people a future and a hope such that they had never dreamt of.
As the work of the Trust took off, Martin was provided with a 'house for duty' by the Diocese of St Alban's in return for his work with the Luton Roma community. This made it possible for him to focus his energies on the work of the Trust.
Since 2016 Martin chairs the Churches Network for the Gypsies, Traveller and Roma - a UK wide group of church leaders and activists who affirm and support the work of all denominations. We meet in Church House, Westminster, London.
In 2016 Martin joined the Europe-wide Roma Networks, meeting with church leaders who head up projects with the Roma from 27 nations. In 2017 he was invited to represent the work in the UK.
Click below to order a copy of Martin's book, "The Pure in Heart - An Epistle from the Romanies" 2009. This tells the story of Martin's work with the English Romanies in Cranbrook, Kent...
Crina Morteanu is a young Romani woman who was born in a village in the south of Romania in a Roma musician family. During her primary and high school years, due to her ethnicity, Crina faced discrimination from both colleagues and teachers. However, these experiences did not put her down but encouraged her even more to study law in order to be able to defend herself and her family from discrimination. While pursuing her bachelors in law, Crina discovered human rights as a tool to fight against discrimination. As a result, in 2009, Crina completed with honours her Masters of Laws in Human Rights at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, where her career began to take shape.
Since then, Crina has been focusing her work on Roma rights and as such she collaborated with some of the most prestigious national and international non-governmental organizations as well as European institutions in Europe including the European Roma Rights Centre, the Roma Education Fund, the Open Society Foundations, the Chance for Children Foundation and the European Commission. In 2016, Crina was the Human Rights Counselor of the Romanian Minister of Justice where she managed the portfolio of the Romanian penitentiary system as well as contributed, inter alia, to the implementation of some of the activities comprised within the Romanian Roma Strategy 2015-2020.
Crina believes that education is the key and one of her research interests is to understand how the right to education of Romani children can remain unaffected when thinking of the social and legal challenges that most of them face.
Funding arrived in summer 2017 for Paul to begin a second year and to double his hours as our education project continues to develop across Luton.
Paul and Stephanie spent a few years with a foundation which worked with Roma families in Bucharest. Together they worked to encourage a number of marginalised families to enrol their children in school, and as a foundation acted as a link between the parents and the school whilst trying to empower and encourage the parents to take responsibility for their children's education.
As part of this they initially assisted the children in their journey to and from school and helped them with their homework a few days a week. They took part in running a summer school to help the older children remember what they'd been taught the year before, and to help prepare the younger children (who hadn't been to any form of preschool) for starting school.
He comes from a family of Kalderash Roma from Romania and is very passionate about fighting social injustice and inequality. He is a very persistent and ambitious person and has spent many years researching and investigating cases involving violations of human rights and the right to education.
Ciprian defied the odds and succeeded in determining the course of his own life. He takes Nelson Mandela’s words about ‘education as the great engine of personal development’ as his daily inspiration and for this reason, he has been active in a number of local and national civil society organizations which promote human rights and equal access to education. He is very enthusiastic about joining the Luton Roma Trust and helping local Roma.
He was the first of his family to graduate from high-school and pursue university studies in Bucharest. After he took his BA degree in Law, he continued his graduate studies abroad where he specialized in the field of international human rights law. Ciprian’s professional interests also include the topic of the largely-neglected Roma Holocaust and he has been involved in a transnational research program about the genocide of the Roma during World War II.
As hobbies, Ciprian is interested in reading about the medieval period, in particular philosophy and theological studies, going fishing, doing sports, travelling, and walking.
"Originally being from Roma ethnicity, although I wanted to go to school, I had not had this chance, except for four years of primary school, and then I had to find a way to survive with my family.
In 2000, I set up a handmade bracelet workshop in the day trend of those times. I designed the product, its production process, its promotion and sale. In 2004 I started a tailoring workshop with bracelet money; I led the business for 2 years having a team of 17 people. In 2006 I reopened the bracelet business with a team of 30 people, an activity that lasted until 2015, going to fairs and festivals all over the country to sell our merchandises.
I can say very proudly that those were the years that help me understand what is the meaning of teamwork, respect and understanding yourself and others.
In 2015 I went to Germany and worked in the construction industry, but we didn’t get paid and together with other colleagues of mine, about 20 workers in the construction industry in Berlin, we protested for 4 months for workers' rights, being supported by the FAU union.
In 2016 I came to England and started my work at Amazon, where I enjoyed and learned so much about this country and English culture. At the same time I realized how hard is for foreigners to be integrated in the society where they didn’t have the opportunity to share their knowledge, abilities or skills, and so I saw how few opportunities exist for people of my ethnicity, who are not able to assert and maintain their identity.
This made me more interested to do volunteer work in order to support them and help them to gain more confidence to go through this process of being integrated in a new country."