EXPERT PRACTITIONER PANEL 1:
Co-Creating Actions for Integration & Inclusion
Testing co-production approaches for integration & inclusion (AVAIL Project, UK)
Phil Arnold, British Red Cross
Phil Arnold presented the AVAIL Project, a European programme implemented in 2018-20 by a partnership of national Red Cross societies in four countries (Ireland, Italy, Latvia and the UK) and the Federation of the Red Cross. Phil described how the Red Cross in the UK had observed that refugees were thought of as 'passive recipients' of services and policy, with little or no self-representation in media. AVAIL focused on co-production as a tool to ensure more equal power-sharing, and tested participatory and co-production approaches by implementing projects and assessing their impact on individual integration and inclusion.
AVAIL engaged around 1,600 people (75% of whom were asylum seekers or refugees) in projects testing eight interventions, implemented across the four participating countries. Projects included:
- Life Skills Programme for newly arried asylum seekers designed and implemented by refugees.
- Cultural mediation programme.
- Peer educators.
- Radio station for asylum seekers.
- Language exchange (refugee-host community native languages)
- Buddy programme.
Watch a short film produced by the AVAIL Project on refugee peer educators in the UK:
Phil concluded by presenting the findings of a programme of research implemented by AVAIL alongside pilot interventions, which concluded that participatory and co-production approaches impacted positively on:
- Individual integration: skills and knowledge development, building confidence.
- Building resilient and supportive social networks
- Influencing policy, practice and public opinion.
- Changing host community perceptions