Lightning Talks

St Aloysius Church
Kevin, Group Coordinator - St Aloysius Church is a Catholic Church in Glasgow city centre. The church started its ESOL classes in 2016 and has since opened it's doors to an incredible 4000+ asylum seekers and refugees. Classes and 1:1 conversations take place each weekday morning from 10.00-12.00, led by an impressive 45 volunteers and, on average around 50 students each weekday morning. 

City of Wolverhampton Council
Satvinder Goraya – Lead Officer New Communities and Housing for the City of Wolverhampton Council. Satvinder and her team work collaboratively across the city to ensure the needs of new and arriving migrants in the city are met. Working in partnerships with health, housing, faith groups, businesses and voluntary, charity and community organisations to reduce inequalities that may be faced by the cohort.

Naeema Ahmed, AFRUCA - The UK BME Anti-Slavery Network (BASNET) promotes race equality, diversity and inclusion in the UK anti-trafficking and anti-slavery space. They are a collective of organisations working in different Black and Ethnic communities dedicated to combating modern slavery and human trafficking in the United Kingdom. 

International Care Network
ICN is a charity (with 28 employees and 50 volunteers) delivering comprehensive services to refugees and asylum seekers in Bournemouth and surrounding areas of Dorset. They are rising to the challenge of welcoming double the numbers they had only two years ago, offering new services (including wellbeing and employability) and working with local and national partners in service delivery and evaluation.

Panel discussion

Rose Simkins, Chief Executive, Stop Hate UK
Rose joined Stop Hate UK in January 2006 as Chief Executive and has led the Charity through a significant period of growth and change, developing it from a racial harassment focused organisation, into one that now covers every aspect of Hate Crime, through its pioneering 24-hour reporting services. Her career started in 1993 where she worked for more than 20 years in housing management and homelessness, and a further 7 years leading a refugee and asylum support service. Her drive for eradicating social injustices has always been at the forefront of her work where equality and diversity are key to making this happen. This passion is embodied in both her working and personal life.

Amanda Jones – Shropshire Supports
Amanda Jones started her mission to encourage kindness in 2015. Footage of the Syrian War on everybody’s television screens moved Amanda to research, raise money and then donate to Caravan to the families stuck in Calais, otherwise known as the Calais Jungle. With 15 years of working in the care and training sector behind her, Amanda had a deep understanding of the trauma that the victims of war would be going through and wanted to reach out and help. On return from Calais, Amanda was pleased to have been asked by the local authority if she would support the 23 families being resettled in Shropshire by being a welcome group for Refugee Action. Amanda embraced this challenge and started Shropshire Supports Refugees (SSR).8 years later, they have grown to meet need in the rural county that is Shropshire – a landscape that has changed significantly and is now the home to an estimated 2500 people fleeing war, persecution and poverty.

Elom Kodjo
Elom Kodjo has been a Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP) member at Migrant Help since March 2023. During this time, Elom has participated in a number of projects resulting in improved services for current and future service users. Elom has also presented at some high profile events such as the Report launch of the UK Immigration, Asylum and Refugee Policy on Poverty in Portcullis House, last year’s Building Bridges conference and Anti Trafficking Day event in Oxford, to name but a few. As a chair of the Modern Slavery LEAP, Elom works with the Co production team to prepare meetings and makes sure every LEAP member’s voice is heard. 

Paul Hassan, Partnership Manager – Ashley Community Housing (ACH) 
Paul is a social entrepreneur with over 30 years’ experience of business, community, and economic development. He is currently Regional Partnership Manager for ACH serving the west of England area, with a focus on long term housing sustainability and successful integration for the refugee and migrant communities ACH serve. Paul has worked with several “community led” housing groups in his previous role at Locality and earlier in his career focused on tackling race inequality in housing employment as Development Manager for PATH Bristol. In addition, he was a Director of the award winning, St Pauls based, radio station Ujima Radio CIC. He served as a board member for Brighter Places Housing Association for over 5 years and now sits on Bristol City Councils strategic Homes and Communities Board.

Keynote speakers

Yomi Ṣode
Yomi Ṣode is a Nigerian British writer. His debut collection ‘Manorism’, published by Penguin in October 2022 alongside a stage adaptation at the Southbank Centre, is shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2023 and the T S Eliot Prize 2022. He was shortlisted for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize 2021, and received the Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship in 2019. 

Yomi's acclaimed one-man show COAT toured nationally to sold-out audiences, including at the Brighton Festival, Roundhouse Camden and the Battersea Arts Centre. In 2020 his libretto Remnants, written in collaboration with award-winning composer James B. Wilson and performed with Chineke! Orchestra premiered on BBC Radio 3. 

In 2021, his play, and breathe… premiered at the Almeida Theatre to rave reviews. Yomi is a Complete Works alumnus and a member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen. He is the founder of BoxedIN, First Five, The Daddy Diaries, and mentorship programme, 12 in 12.

Eid Aljazairli
Student and Swimming Athlete at King’s College London | Asset Management- Intern at Goldman Sachs | Finance Intern at Convex | Hoping to Make the Refugee Olympic Team | UNHCR Storyteller
Embarking on a journey marked by resilience and determination, I navigated my way from Syria to the UK in 2017, overcoming a dangerous three-year trek across Europe. This experience, including a harrowing near-drowning, has shaped my resolve and perspective. Arriving in 2017 as a refugee, I quickly learned English, earned a place at King’s College, and secured a coveted internship in the Private Equity Fundraising team at Goldman Sachs. With a passion for finance born in a land of limited opportunities, I have turned challenges into stepping stones. Inspired by Michael Phelps, I overcame my fear of water and am now training to represent the Refugee Olympic Team in Paris 2024, a symbol of my journey's transformation from survival to aspiration.

Exhibition stalls

Hestia is the largest provider of modern slavery support in London and the south east. Hestia’s modern slavery service started in 2011 and they have supported more than 6,000 victims since then. Hestia provide ten safe houses in London and the South East, as well as a pan-London outreach service working in every London borough.

Homeless Link
Homeless Link are the national membership charity for organisations working with people who become homeless in England. Homeless Link work to make services better with resources and guidance as well as campaigning for policy change. The Partnerships team provide direct support to local areas to develop stronger strategic and operational alliances between their community groups, charities and local authorities to help end homelessness.

Clear Voice
Clear Voice offers high-quality interpreting and translation services throughout the UK and is the only social enterprise service of its kind. All of Clear Voice’s profits are donated to Migrant Help to support our work combatting human trafficking and assisting asylum seekers.

Lived Experience Advisory Panel - LEAP
We will share an update on Migrant Help's co-production journey and the amazing work of our Lived Experience Advisory Panels, plus our speakers with lived experience will share how working in co-production has helped them to build and share hope, as well as highlighting some top tips on how to build trust between organisations and their clients.

Micro Rainbow
Founded in 2012 Micro Rainbow is the leading not for profit organisation in the UK supporting the integration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) people who flee persecution and reach the UK in search of safety. Micro Rainbow’s holistic approach to integration is based on three pillars: safe housing, social inclusion and employability support. These programmes ensure that LGBTQI refugees are not only safe but also able to live fulfilling, independent lives. Micro Rainbow has won a number of awards for innovation and as a top social enterprise and is recognised for creating the first ever national safe housing scheme for LGBTQI people fleeing persecution, with a current capacity of over 30,000 bed-nights a year. You can support Micro Rainbow's crucial work in making the housing sector more inclusive by becoming an ally.

Bernado's make sure children and young people feel safer, happier, healthier and more hopeful, by running over 800 specialist services across the UK, and campaigning to change the way the system works for the better. Bernado's have been changing childhoods and changing lives for over 150 years.