Refugee Action x NACCOM Experts by Experience Webinar

July 21, 2021
Tarana Wafi
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Tarana Wafi

Over 100 people took part in a webinar intended to inspire, connect and move the sector forwards when thinking about and meaningfully working with Experts by Experience. 

What we did

We heard from practitioners working to involve Experts by Experience at all levels of their organisations, who gave tips and advice on building relationships, establishing trust, managing group dynamics and providing a supportive environment for individuals to build confidence. 

We looked at some of the different roles that Experts by Experience play within organisations including: 

  • Providing peer-peer support and community awareness raising
  • Trustee Boards and Steering Groups
  • Advocacy and campaigning activities 

Experts by Experience took centre stage describing the work they do and the difference they make for people seeking asylum, the organisations they work with and their personal development. They also talked about the challenges and what helped to overcome them. 

The speakers then took part in a Q&A panel answering questions on their preferred terminology for “people with lived experience” or “Experts by Experience”; how organisations can avoid tokenistic activities; and how to ensure meaningful participation and representation of Experts by Experience on trustee boards and steering groups.

Why we did this

Within the refugee sector there is a growing recognition that we need to get better at involving people with lived experience in finding solutions to the challenges they face. NACCOM members and Refugee Action’s Good Practice partners have indicated a growing interest in creating opportunities and involving Experts by Experience in meaningful ways to create change. This means Experts by Experience being involved in designing and delivering services, in doing research and raising awareness, in campaigning and advocating and in steering the direction of organisations and holding them to account.   

During our research with organisations we found that organisations want to learn and help each other on this journey. We co-produced this event to open up a space for Experts by Experience and organisations to share and learn, to continue these conversations and begin to move forwards together. 

What people said about it

Loads of people said lovely things about the webinar. We’re thrilled it was useful and inspiring to so many people. Here’s what some of you said:

“Thank you so much to everyone who organised this and presented - I've learnt so much and really appreciate everyone who spoke about their experience and suggested improvements that we can act on. I wish I could stay on but I have to leave now!”


“Thank you so much for helping facilitate a really interesting and insightful session yesterday on experts by experience. I felt really inspired afterwards and the panel was brilliant. I am really looking forward to hearing more and receiving information about the Slack group which I would love to join.”

Ruth - Safe Passage

“Really thank you so much for this webinar. It was wonderful to hear all of the lived experience. Thank you very much for sharing.”

Rose - Refugee Roots 

“Do you know of good resources / training available for small organisations wanting to take their next steps in involving experts by experience? Or peer networks of organisations trying to implement best practice / workshop challenges they are having in developing in this area?”

Charlotte - Repowering London

“I can say I am feeling really appreciated and great that we are talking today.. our things are coming out. What we face.. thanks a lot.. 🙏🏽🙂🙂🙂”

MD - Newcastle 

“Thank you for the brilliant speakers - so helpful and inspiring too.  And a beautiful, powerful poem. Thank you.”

Jo - Young Roots 

Big thanks

So many amazing people made this webinar possible. We’d like to thank… 

Everyone who helped with planning, recording videos, presenting and making everything run smoothly on the day 

Farzad - Health Access Volunteer for Refugee Council 

Sipilian - Trustee for PAFRAS, Leeds

Shukry - Trustee for NACCOM 

Iman - Trustee for St. Augustine’s Centre, Halifax

Steven - member of Refugee Action Steering Committee 

Spiwe - Health Befriender Volunteer for Refugee Council 

Maha - member of Refugee Women Connect Advocacy Network, Liverpool 

Diana - Health Access Volunteer for Refugee Council

Wakanda - Early Action Expert Panel member for Action Foundation, Newcastle

Modupe - Early Action Expert Panel member for SDCAS, London

Tabitha - Health Befriender Volunteer for Refugee Council 

Hawar - Brushstrokes 

Leila - UKLGIG

Pip & Alice - Refugee Women Connect 

Rose - Refugee Council 

Next steps

We have a lot to reflect on. Discussions need to take place. We have some initial thoughts below. We’ll be making plans and contacting people to help us develop these in the next few weeks.

  1. Set up an EbE Slack Workspace to enable organisations and Experts by Experience to continue the conversation, build connections, share and learn from each other 
  1. Bring together an Action Group to develop guidance and resources for the sector, working closely with Experts by Experience and providing training and support 
  1. Collaborate with partners to develop more opportunities for shared learning
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