The mission of Barka UK is to provide severely excluded Central and Eastern European (CEE) migrants with the opportunity for reconnection and social reintegration.
Barka UK was established in June 2007. It is affiliated to the Barka Foundation for Mutual Help, which for over twenty years has been working in Poland with excluded and vulnerable members of community. Among its many projects, Barka Poland has developed vocational schools for the unemployed, numerous social enterprises and a program of accessible housing and self-sufficient communities in the countryside.
In 2006 Barka Poland was contacted by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in association with Housing Justice UNLEASH and The Simon Community, due to their rising concern at growing problem of homelessness among Eastern European migrants.
In 2007 Bernadette Cassidy offered Barka the use of her house in London, which soon became the hub of the UK operations. Barka UK was established that year by two senior officials of Hammersmith and Fulham Council together with Mrs Cassidy and a group of Polish nationals.
Bernadette Cassidy (left) with Ewa Sadowska Barka UK CEO Photo Courtesy of Agnieszka Chmura www.agnchm.com
Barka UK Reconnection Project is currently operating with great success in eight London boroughs (Westminster, Islington, Barnet, Haringey, Enfield, Camden, Redbridge, and Southwark) in partnership with Homelessness Transition Fund, North London Housing Partnership, Healthy Living Projects, Southwark Council, local outreach teams, day centres and CEE Consulates.
Barka UK’s Free Helpline for CEE migrants has been operating since October 2011. During this time it has been an essential source of advice and support, providing multiple platform of help.