The TVG started in the early 1990’s. At that time there was no community development work for Travellers and more charitable based approaches were supporting the Traveller Community like the Itinerant Settlement Committee (1960’s to 1980’s). The Itinerant Settlement Committee (1960’s to 1980’s) came about as a result of the 1963 Commission on Itinerancy Report which set up voluntary responses to the implementation of the report that had an underlying theme of assimilation of Travellers back to the settled society. The Itinerant Settlement Committee (1960’s to 1980’s) were charitable and worked short term in their responses to Travellers by adopting no political analysis of the situation experienced by Travellers in Ireland at that time.
A number of Traveller women in Cork came together during this period and worked to engage with policy makers around 3 particular issues including the segregated welfare system, the segregated education system and the lack of Traveller specific accommodation. Out of this engagement it was made evident that there was a need to have an organisation that had a fresh approach to working with Travellers. As community development was becoming a more prominent way of working to influence change it was felt that Travellers needed to be part of this movement so that they could best organise themselves. The Dublin Traveller Education Development Group (now known as Pavee Point) organised a round table discussion on what community development could look like for Travellers and out of that Travellers in Cork looked for support from the Irish Traveller Movement to help them organise themselves locally in Cork.
Following this a piece of research was commissioned and facilitated by UCC in 1993 entitled “Making Travellers Visible” which looked at the unmet needs of Travellers in Cork. This research gave Travellers locally a template and mandate to work from in terms of how to go about responding to the needs of Travellers. One of the issues identified in the research was the lack of a place for Travellers to go to when needing to discuss things that is going on for them. Thus, this marked the beginning of the work in edging out an area or centre for Travellers. The Neighbourhood Youth project in the Glen allocated a space for this and the humble beginnings of the TVG came into play. The TVG placed itself at this location for 12 years whilst trying to organise its own resource centre for Travellers. In its bid to secure premises for operation it did come up against discrimination and had a total of 3 buildings nearly purchased (through Pobal, European and HSE funding) with each falling through on the realisation that the centre would be used for Travellers. This led the TVG to make a public appeal through local media to seek support in purchasing a building for the work.