Introduction and Toolkit Structure


After arriving in the UK, refugees face a long healing process as they try to rebuild their lives and fulfil their aspirations. Refugees also bring new ideas, skills, knowledge, cultures, and the desire to connect with communities and make substantial contributions to their new countries, including the services that they access. Beyond the statutory responsibilities that organisations, whether in the public, voluntary or private sectors, have towards refugees, they can all play a significant role in the integration of refugees, including fostering their participation in the planning, delivery, and evaluation of services.

Refugees face a range of barriers and inequalities resulted from policies and practices that often exclude refugees and asylum seekers. Refugees often want to participate in various aspects of UK life and feel like they have a lot to contribute to things like business, culture, community life, the services that they access, and the organisations that support their integration.

Through developing different forms of refugee participation, services and organisations can help refugees understand how policies and provision affect them and how they can shape their development. By listening to and learning from the lived experiences of refugees, we can all understand better how barriers, discrimination, marginalisation, and complex vulnerabilities shape the lives of refugees.

This Toolkit provides practical ideas for transforming the concept of refugee participation into practice. It is a resource that can help you identify opportunities, learn from the strengths and weaknesses of your work, service or organisation, review how your practices can lead to the inclusion or exclusion of refugees, and identify the best approaches to participation that can contribute to successful integration.

This Toolkit is for all services and organisations that work with refugees in Yorkshire and Humber. It is relevant to all providers, large or small, irrespective of the number of refuges that they deal with daily. Whether your service or organisation already includes refugee participation in its framework, or whether you are new to it, this Toolkit can contribute to meeting their needs and achieving wider improvements in outcomes, as it covers a range of topics, from the first steps of participation to how to make participation more equitable.

There is a significant and growing amount of work on refugee participation and this Toolkit builds on this work and several resources that have been recently developed, as well as making refugee participation more relevant to stakeholders in Yorkshire and Humber. This toolkit has been developed from the perspective of work carried out with people who have lived experience of forced migration in Yorkshire and Humber.

By following on those footsteps, your service or organisation can swiftly develop simple and practical ways to engage with refugees, listen to their concerns and ideas, involve them in planning, delivery, and evaluation, and use this engagement to help shape provision. In the process, it will make it more equitable and responsive to the needs of refugees. Finally, by harnessing the views, skills, and knowledge of the refugees you work with, you will provide a significant contribution to the integration and inclusion of refugees in Yorkshire and Humber, enabling them to rebuild their lives successfully in our region.

Last updated: 5th January 2023