Our long standing mission statement highlights our purpose and primary task:

"To further the understanding and practice of planned environment therapy in the treatment of children, young people and adults with severe personality, emotional and other psychological problems. We strive to support, develop, promote, record, value and celebrate therapeutic work in such caring, healing environments, institutions and communities. We are “working for therapeutic environments”

  • The Trust has at its heart a belief in the human potential to heal and to learn, change and grow as part of that healing, even after having suffered serious emotional and psychological hurt. This is a belief based on life/living experiences that have been thought about and acted on in practice over the years.
  • We have a commitment to serve those involved in therapeutic work in therapeutic communities and other planned environments, supporting those in ways relevant and helpful to them, even if it simply means aligning ourselves alongside the rest of the sector – being with you, standing by you in difficult times, sharing in the talking and thinking.
  • We seek to preserve the history of the field - the records, the objects, the pictures and stories of therapeutic communities and environments past and present – to help ensure already marginalised people and creative ways of working with them in planned environments are not rendered even more invisible and perhaps lost forever to memory and unavailable for future affirmation and inspiration.
  • We offer a 'home base'. A setting, an environment reliably present, with a warm, understanding welcome to those who have been and currently are involved in living and working in carefully planned environments that provide the heart for therapeutic change and growth.
  • We are a focus for people – users, staff, friends - to come together and gather, whether their own community is still going or long gone. Focus comes from the Latin 'Foco' meaning hearth. We hope to provide a place and space and organisation, often longed for, where people can actually slow down, reflect and begin to notice what's been at the edge of their awareness waiting for their attention.
  • We offer hope – in the present for our future. Not a sentimental hope, but a strong one and we are committed to holding this Hope, together with you at times and for you when necessary.

How does our current work reflect these aims?

  • By developing the Barns Centre facilities, through active outreach, events and courses, we are creating a literal meeting place and home base for everyone involved in any aspect of therapeutic work that recognises the centrality of the planned environment as a framework for healing, learning and growing. In this way we can reliably offer a unique place to which a diversity of people can feel they belong, and belong together – whether researching/studying, training, resting and re-creating, remembering, conversing or reflecting quietly.
  • By developing our online presence, vis this website, email groups and our social media presence we hope to preserve and promote the live connectedness amongst people so fundamental to the activity we seek to support and expand through our own activity. While virtual will be the medium more often, it will never predominantly define the human (inter)relationship we are committed to fostering/creating. To achieve this we cannot simply be users of the internet; we must be influencers in how it serves healthy social purposes.
  • By developing our national and local connections through conferences, exhibitions and other external event, we are will trying to bring a hitherto marginal or unknown part of society much closer to the centre and to people’s recognition and appreciation of its need, purpose and benefit for individuals and society itself. Working towards formal connection/association with universities and other academic institutions will open many opportunities to move towards the mainstream and to access resources to realise our fuller identity and activity. This will require much work for quite some time, but it is a direction in which we know we need to move to strengthen our own profile in a world that expects an active outreaching from charities of any kind.
  • By developing our programme of current and emerging activities we hope to bring to an ever wider audience a realisation of the potential of “the group as a group” to provide extended deep sets of relationships that will support and strengthen links with/in families who already endure multiple and massive pressures in a complex world and are too often at risk of breakdown through isolation and disconnected fragmentation. Taking ourselves out to and amongst the public – not simply with the spoken word of lecture or exhibit but through creative communications via the arts including performance, music, technology and play. In this way many more people will find us, and we shall find ourselves from a different perspective, not least seeing ourselves as others see and experience us.
  • By recreating ourselves from predominantly a preserving Trust to a vital public service worthy of public participation and securing many of the possible income producing streams on and off line to support our purposes and growth.

We hope that all our friends and fellow travellers will work closely towards a future for therapeutic living that interests us all and helps those in need of such provision now and in the future.