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Neighbourhood-oriented care

Getting started in Balen and Ravels

Commissioned by Streekplatform Kempen


From until


To bring good care close to the people by creating contexts and structures in which community-oriented initiatives lead to people feeling supported and thereby increasing their self-reliance. This, in a nutshell, is what the Streekplatform Kempen project 'Neighbourhood-oriented care' was all about.

For more than a year, residents, volunteers and professionals in Balen and Ravels have been working to improve their living environment. They also joined forces with welfare and care providers from other municipalities in the Kempen to learn by doing how 'socialisation of care' can be put into practice.

The two neighbourhoods focused on:

  • preventive actions, including countering underprotection.
  • the optimal matching of targeted care and support to the needs and demands of citizens in vulnerable situations.
  • a neighbourhood-based approach in neighbourhoods that deserve more attention because of a high spatial concentration of social, economic and ecological problems.


Participation is a key concept in the project. In order to improve the living conditions in a specific neighbourhood, actions are needed in different policy areas. Throughout the project and even after its completion, the local government will play a leading role.

A first important partner is the residents of the neighbourhood themselves. As in the case of anti-poverty policies, measures to strengthen social cohesion and increase self-reliance are only effective if they are taken together with the residents concerned. Based on their experiences and needs, they are in the best position to indicate what would make an immediate difference to them and what measures are acceptable and feasible.

Other important partners are the health and social care agencies working in the neighbourhood. They know the neighbourhood and its residents and have been challenged by the project to tailor their services and support to the needs of the neighbourhood.

Neighbourhood analysis

The livability of the neighbourhood, the care needs of residents, and the nature and extent of existing care provision in the neighbourhood were mapped through various channels:

  • We used the administrative data of the municipality and the OCMW, and the municipal statistics of the province and the Intermutual Agency.
  • We asked partner organisations for their own data on the number of rights exhausted and the nature and number of services provided in the neighbourhood.
  • We knocked on the doors of all residents in the neighbourhood aged 16 and over and carried out a survey (written or oral) of residents' satisfaction with living in the neighbourhood, their use of care and support services, and their financial literacy.
  • We compared the results of the survey with the municipal monitor and the questionnaire on the income and living conditions of Belgian families.
  • In each neighbourhood, we organised a focus group with residents and a focus group with healthcare providers. Here we discussed the results of the survey and assessed which small and large interventions could make a noticeable difference.

Action path

The action path had to ensure that the neighbourhood and its residents were supported in the best possible way. Therefore, all stakeholders were involved throughout the process. Neighbourhood residents, volunteers, welfare, assistance and care providers

met regularly to identify quick wins and long-term goals, and to design, implement and evaluate actions.

Why did we involve so many people? Because the project wanted to create structures and contexts in which local people would feel supported, which in turn would have a positive impact on self-sufficiency. To achieve this, it is important that all actors in the neighbourhood know each other and work together actively.

Neighbourhood working is a challenge for all local governments. Citizens feel a great need to be involved, to have the right information. Municipalities need to make a strong commitment to this.

Discover the results of this research project below (in Dutch)

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LCO draaiboek.pdf
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Buurtgerichte Zorg Ravels eindrapport.pdf
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Buurtgerichte Zorg Balen eindrapport.pdf
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Aanbevelingen 10 do's and don'ts voor buurtgericht werken.pdf

Nele Peeters

Joined the team in 2012. Fascinated by financial well-being and budget and debt counselling. A headstrong go-getter and an eloquent speaker. 

Research manager

Bérénice Storms

PhD in social sciences. Research manager Centre of Expertise Budget and Financial Well-being