Expert groups pilot

The Expert by Experience Groups Pilot programme supports organisations to test setting up and running user groups. 

Support provided

Organisations involved

Cohort 1

Cohort #1 included participants from: Abigail Housing, St. Augustine's Centre,  BEACON Bradford, Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network, AVID, Southwark Refugee Community Forum, CARAS and Brushstrokes. 

Cohort 2

Cohort #2 includes participants from: Doctors of the World, Bristol Hospitality Network, Sheffield City of Sanctuary, Refugee Action, Refugee Women Connect, Bristol Refugee Rights, Helen Bamber Foundation and PAFRAS.

Cohort thoughts

Here’s some things participants in Cohort #1 said:

“Do it and get involved! The combination of great facilitating and bringing together like minded people/organisations throughout the UK was fantastic”
“Being in the position of the participant really helped me understand what it must be like for our clients joining our groups and what a positive experience could look like”
“It was really well facilitated - one of the best bits of training I've ever done (and I feel I've done some good training in the past). Really great working with others.”


The pilot was structured and work was captured using the "Workbook", which includes activities and key tasks to set up a user group. This is available for any organisation to use.

View and use the workbook

The workbook and the worksheets are Google Docs that you will need to make a copy of before you can use. There are instructions on how to do this in the workbook.

View the workbook

In addition, there's guidance about how organisations can run effective groups with Experts by Experience. View it here.

Training for Facilitators 

Up to 12 participants attend four weekly 3 hour sessions. Training is delivered using an experiential approach; participants doing the activities themselves and then unpacking and reflecting, and discussing how they'd work in different contexts etc.

  • Week 1 - Establishing the group, building your container, trust and relationships, responsibility and engagement. 
  • Week 2 - Planning your sessions, creating the right environment, choosing your activities, taking into account needs of different participants. 
  • Week 3 - Role of the facilitator, holding space for difficult conversations, dealing with conflict, facilitation approaches. 
  • Week 4 - Delivering your chosen activity. Group show back and review - evaluating each others practice


The EBE groups pilot organisations met regularly to discuss their ideas, progress and challenges.

We want to continue holding space for people doing this work to come together to share and develop good practice. You can sign up to our Meet Up page to stay up to date and join in these conversations on our experts-by-experience Slack channel.

Get in touch

If you have a question about the Groups Pilot, please email Lora at Refugee Action. We aim to reply within one week.

Email Lora