Our Impact


VCSE organisation: Barnardo’s 

Social Challenge: Barnardo’s, a children’s charity that supports vulnerable families across the UK through a range of services including  Refugee Support Services. The team assist the resettlement of Syrian families arriving in NI through the Vulnerable Person Relocation Scheme. Barnardo’s support families with integration and developing their independence to access education; GP / dental services and Housing. These families arrive with little or no English and often with no real knowledge of the NI system.

To overcome the challenge of communication and for these individuals to regain their independence Barnardo’s would like to develop a mechanism for refugee families to directly self-advocate with landlords or letting agents in relation to reporting housing issues. Refugee families wish to raise issues directly, not through a third party. Unfortunately, the only supports or mechanisms which currently exist are heavily reliant on having a decent level of the English language, or, relying on a charity for help and advocacy each time a housing fault or breakage arises. Herein lays the problem.

Techie: David Shawe 

Tech Solution: Watch the demonstration video of the prototype digital solution; fixIT

Geoff Baird from Barnardos’ said

  • “A digital solution represents a step-change for refugee and indeed non-English speaking families who want nothing more than get back to a sense of dignity, autonomy and independence they once knew before the Syrian conflict ripped their lives apart.”

Following participation in the programme, Barnardo’s pitched for and received a Seed Fund award of £12,000 to enable them to further develop, test and launch their prototype project. You can watch their pitch and showcase event here

The Seed Fund award will be used to

  • Upgrade ‘FixIT’ with ‘Premium’ features including allowing video evidence to be submitted when reporting an issue.
  • Improve ‘FixIT’ through research and development with a focus on the reporting feature and landlord / tenant communication
  • Build more automation into ‘FixIT’ allowing issues to be solved via ‘How to Guides’ giving the families the opportunity to exercise greater autonomy
  • Share ‘FixIT’ with other organisations to aid refugee and asylum seeking families. Pushing for ‘Growth’ and
  • ‘Expansion’ across UK and Ireland.
  • Translate ‘Terms & Conditions’, ‘GDPR’ and ‘Data Processing’ information



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