Breaking Down Barriers

Devised and created by members of the third Leeds Poverty Truth Commission, Breaking Down Barriers is a staff training film designed to help service providers in their customer interactions with those struggling against poverty.

The film seeks to raise questions so that service providers can create conversations and raise awareness with their staff to help them ‘see the person’ in every situation. It aims to help explain the barriers and frustrations experienced by both customers experiencing the struggle against poverty and service providers, to promote positive and empathetic contact between users and front-line staff.

The full film is available to watch here. We have also produced a handy training guide which can be downloaded below…

The Training guide to accompany the film is available to download here –

The Story of this film…

As part of the Poverty Truth Commission, Commissioners collectively undertook a number of exercises to explore the experience and perception of poverty.  As a result of these conversations, a number of themes were identified, Health, Untapped Potential and Systems & Barriers.


In the System & Barriers group, a small group of Commissioners discussed what the key barriers were in the systems that impacted them in the web of poverty, including the role of service providers. From this, the group opted to use the media of a video as a means of demonstrating this message.  In ‘seeing the person’, Commissioners felt that much of the stigma of poverty could be overcome.


Three Community Commissioners then volunteered to share stories of positive and negative interactions with service providers. From these stories we drew out the principles of HALT (Humanise, Appriciate, Listen & Take Time), as a mnemonic to help front line staff remember and action behaviours that have the potential to transform interactions with customers experiencing the struggle against poverty.

Special thanks in the making of this film goes to Dawn, Christine & Brian, Brandon and Simeon.