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What makes Barca-Leeds different

Our aim is to help people and communities overcome the consequences of deprivation, no matter what their circumstances. That is what we’re passionate about.

Our teams offer a broad range of high quality services that address the full range of issues and problems we see families struggle with every day

Barca-Leeds’s work is underpinned by the values that you would expect of any professional, caring organisation, including integrity, transparency, confidentiality, fairness, equality and humanity.

There are, though, five key characteristics that set us clearly apart. These are the ‘personality traits’ that, together, make Barca-Leeds, our staff and their work unique. They inform every step of the client’s experience, from first contact to final outcome. And they are fundamental to our long and consistent record of success.

  • Voluntary Engagement
  • Active Listening
  • Integrated & Holistic
  • Social Justice
  • Participation & Self-determination

1. Voluntary Engagement

The quality of Barca-Leeds services depends almost totally on the voluntary engagement of the service-users. People choose to interact with us on the understanding that we have no ‘hidden agenda’; we’re here to help. We don’t judge or preach. But we are honest, and we help clients to understand the consequences of their decisions and actions.

This voluntary engagement, with clear boundaries, is crucial to the quality of BARCA-Leeds’s services. It means that we can build up a truly equal relationship with our clients, who may until then have only known services based on authority and compulsion.

By simply choosing to talk to us, clients have already taken the first step towards changing their lives, and because they have done so voluntarily and without threat, they’re more likely to be successful.

“Barca-Leeds’s work is underpinned by the values that you would expect of any professional, caring organisation, including integrity, transparency, confidentiality, fairness, equality and humanity.”

2. Active Listening

The success of every corner of our service relies on our commitment to really understanding what’s going on in their lives. Once someone has chosen to engage with us, we invest time in actively listening to them. We do this with respect and without judgement. Over time, they may share their life experiences with us.

This is the only way for us to learn what people’s real needs are, as they perceive them. As a result, we can be truly client-centred; our responses are thus shaped by fact, not assumption, and are therefore much more relevant and effective.

Another benefit is that this builds up trust and establishes strong relationships. So we’re often the first to hear of new issues affecting the community, and can therefore react appropriately and promptly.

A commitment to listening also allows us to learn constantly from all those with whom we interact. This means that we are able continually to reflect on that learning in order to improve what we do.

3. Integrated & Holistic

The Government now recognises that the key to successful support is whole family working, integrated services and local, key workers.

BARCA worker dealing with individual

Since its inception, Barca-Leeds has worked in a holistic way at every level. We:

  1. Start with the individual, not the problem
  2. Take time to understand a client’s physical, emotional and social context in the broadest sense
  3. Involve the client’s family, with consent, if appropriate
  4. Immerse ourselves in the community so that we truly understand the daily context of people’s lives
  5. Understand how Barca-Leeds fits in with what is going on nationally and internationally as well as locally
  6. Work very closely with other partners and services throughout the city and draw on their own expertise as appropriate, to provide practical and coordinated services
  7. Build on our local, national and (increasingly) international networks.

4. Social Justice

The net cost of dealing with the consequences of deprivation is staggering (billions of pounds each year) when compared to the expense of even the most intensive, one-to-one, long-term intervention. Every day, we see the human cost of local social injustice: problems that stem from exclusion in its many forms.

For society, social injustice can be measured in terms of human life: babies born five kilometres apart in Leeds have a difference in life expectancy of 10 years, simply because of where they live.

The work that Barca-Leeds does chips away at the social injustice inherent in today’s society. Because of the way we work, we are able to see – and therefore dismantle – the many barriers to inclusion, equality and opportunity that our clients face.

Our work means that people stand a better chance to build a better life, and is thus of enormous value not just to individuals, in a humanitarian and ethical sense, but also to society and the economy.

5. Participation & Self-determination

Barca-Leeds listens to local people’s needs and aspirations about where and how they live. Then we help them get the skills they need to build the communities they want. We design and develop our services to what our clients say they need.

We’ve seen over and again how successful this approach can be. If people have the chance to take part in the control and shape of their own community, then they’ll want to live in it, work in it and continuously improve it. And from that (from them) emerges a thriving, sustainable, productive, resilient community.

We don’t, though, lose sight of the fact that sometimes interaction is about fun. It gives us all the chance to socialise, make friends and feel part of the community.



21 Years of Community Based Action
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