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Supporting Refugees and Asylum Seekers

  • Tuesday, 05 December 2023
  • Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre
  • 08:30 - 15:45
Expert Speakers
Sponsors & Supporters
  • Overview

1.2 million people migrated into the UK and 557,000 people emigrated from it, leaving a net migration figure of 606,000 as of the end of June 2022. The number of people migrating to the UK has been greater than the number emigrating in each year since 1994. Controlling migration has been a key government pledge with a particular focus on illegal migration. The controversial illegal migration bill has now passed through parliament. The purpose of the Illegal Migration Bill is to ‘prevent and deter unlawful migration, and in particular migration by unsafe and illegal routes, by requiring the removal from the United Kingdom of certain persons who enter or arrive in the United Kingdom in breach of immigration control’.

Following the well attended 2022 event, Open Forum Events are pleased to once again be hosting the Supporting Refugees and Asylum Seekers national conference where delegates will receive an update on the current challenges facing refugees and asylum seekers and the UK migration system.

Comments from last year’s delegates include:

         ‘Great programme. Very informative and inspiring’             

‘Really impressed-exceeded expectations’               ‘Amazing event’        

             ‘Speakers were fantastic-learnt lots of new info’

The agenda will feature a series of plenary addresses, delivered by expert speakers, to provide updates on the current situation, share professional best practice and depict lived experience. Interactive question and answer panels allows for further discussion, whilst informal networking opportunities completes the conference experience.  

Numbers are limited so book your place today.


This conference is designed to induce change with knowledge, innovation, and inspiration.
Any transformation of a process or service requires the input of products and services devised to make improvements such as digital technologies; training provision; workforce planning; outsourced services; data and analytics etc.
If your organisation supports change through your products and services, our delegates and conference participants will be ready to engage with you.


  • Confirmed Speakers

Event Sponsors and Supporters

  • Event Programme


Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area


Chair's Opening Address

  • Adam Baker, Charity Director, Refugee Roots (confirmed)

Keynote Address Speaker

"The Best of Both Worlds"

My lived experience as an unaccompanied minor asylum seeker and how it led me to research the mental health needs of unaccompanied minor refugee and asylum seekers in UK

  • Jon Featonby, Chief Policy Analyst, Refugee Council (confirmed)
"What Could Fair and Compassionate Asylum Reform Look Like?"

Presentation title What could fair and compassionate asylum reform look like?
The Illegal Migration Act 2023, which became law in July, is a significant rewriting of the UK’s asylum law. The UNHCR have described it as an asylum ban as it will prevent thousands from having their case heard in the UK. This presentation will set out the Refugee Council’s alternative proposal, and why a National Refugee Strategy is needed.

  • Dr Fiona Watson, GP with interest in Migrant Health, Hope Citadel Healthcare (confirmed)
"What Does Effective Healthcare for Asylum Seekers and Refugees Look Like?"

What are the main health challenges faced by asylum seekers
and refugees today in the UK? How might we address these
needs in an NHS which is under ever-increasing pressure? My
experience of attempting to provide safe and effective care for a
hotel population of asylum seekers in a context of a regular GP


Question & Answer Session

Allocated planned time for speakers to receive questions from the audience and induce further discussion.


Coffee in the Networking Area


Sharing Best Practice

  • Meta Randles, Senior Policy Adviser for Refugee and Migrant Children, Barnardo’s (confirmed)
"A Warm Welcome for Displaced Children"

The presentation will outline findings from the UK’s largest Children’s charity Barnardo’s, and their recent report ‘A Warm Welcome: a blueprint for protecting displaced children seeking protection in the UK’, which outlines a welcoming movement for all children regardless of their nationality. Drawing on evidence from Barnardo’s services which supported displaced children, such as the Independent Child Trafficking Guardianship Service and Ukrainian Support Helpline, the report shows how civil society and local communities, with support from government, could help to secure better outcomes for children.

  • Janet King, Sector Manager for Education and Children, NCFE (confirmed)
  • Angie Rogers, Subject Chair Education and Early Years, NCFE (confirmed)
"Tuning Into Children"

This presentation, delivered by educational charity NCFE, will examine the perceptions, needs and experiences of children and families settling in Britain. During this interactive session, we’ll aim to raise awareness of the challenges these children face as well as share insight into the best ways that they can be supported, through exploring real-world case studies, activities and thought-provoking research.

  • Amanda Jones, CEO , Shropshire Supports Refugees (confirmed)
"Rural resettlement - the joys and the challenges"

Coming from Amanda‘s unique position as someone who started on this journey, with zero experience of working with refugees and migrants, Amanda will talk you through how she did, what she did, why she did what she did, and some of her observations and learnings along the way.
Living in an extremely mono cultured, rural county in Shropshire, it was exciting and challenging at the same time to try to ensure that these victims of war, persecution and poverty were welcomed into communities, and given the wraparound support people who have experienced this traumatic journey need

From having to learn about the landscape had done this before , increase her knowledge in the mental health and well-being of refugees and migrants to having to develop networks of support across a wide area, educating the public, easing integration, and developing community cohesion.
Every step has been a learning curve for almost everybody in the county.

Having nurtured her charity into a position where they are now supporting over 1000 refugees and migrants, in one way, or another, Amanda does not profess to have the answers to everything but encourages active discourse, idea sharing and champions co-collaboration between local authorities, third sector and grassroots groups, faith, groups, and local community groups, and is a firm believer of empowering local people to support local refugees , their fellow neighbours.



Question & Answer Session


Lunch in the Networking Area

A hot, two-course lunch consisting of multiple options will be provided for delegates. We cater for all dietary requirements, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten/dairy-free; just notify us ahead of time should you have any allergens or requirements.

** Lunch and Learn with Mayden**


Chairs Afternoon Address

  • Sarah Parker, Research & Development Officer, Young People & Families, Catch22 (confirmed)
"The Impact of the Illegal Migration Act on Vulnerable, Unaccompanied Children"

The Illegal Migration Act passed into law in July 2023. It means that some children and young people who arrive in the UK in the hope of finding safety may not be able to access the care and protection they need. This presentation will explain how new legislation could make children more vulnerable and what impact it could have on them.

"Allowing Asylum Seekers to Work is Good for the UK Economy"

In January 2023, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) presented a report -from harm to home- at the UK parliament suggesting different ways the UK can improve its immigration policies as they relate to refugees and asylum seekers. While preparing the report, IRC wanted to understand what businesses think about allowing asylum seekers to work. The overwhelming majority of businesses contacted believed that allowing asylum seekers to work earlier is good for the business. Similar surveys and research have been done by our partners in the sector with the same findings. In this presentation, the speaker discusses why allowing asylum seekers to work is good for the UK economy and what we, as country, loose by not doing so.

  • Jackie Wood, First Aid Support Team (FAST), Board Director – Registered Nurse (confirmed)
  • Alice Beal, Board Director – Registered Nurse , First Aid Support Team (FAST) (confirmed)
"First Aid Support Team (FAST) – Addressing Basic Health Care Needs in Northern France"

FAST believes that basic health care and being treated with dignity and respect are basic human rights. This presentation will discuss the work of the charities volunteers, who are all qualified health care practitioners, in providing first aid care and delivering health promotion to displaced people in Northern France. FAST will also describe it’s work alongside other NGO’s in the vicinity.


Question & Answer Session


Chairs Closing Remarks and Event Close

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  • Contact Details
  • Sponsors
  • Supporters
  • Venue
  • Downloads
  • Who will attend

Contact Details




Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre

Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre

Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre is the ideal solution when searching for conference venues in Manchester. Top-of-the-range conference suites, 3 star value hotel accommodation, delicious dining and friendly service are the ideal components for a successful conference or event in the heart of the city centre.

The 18 conference rooms are decked out with all the mod cons including state-of-the-art AV technology, projectors and screens, free Wi-Fi and flip charts. Our clients cover the whole spectrum and include government organisations, trade unions, large corporate companies, non-profit organisations, health and education sectors and small to medium-sized businesses.

From the get-go we strive for excellence in everything we do and our dedicated team of conference professionals go all out to make sure your conference, event or exhibition runs like clockwork.

Downloads & Resources

  • Open Forum Events Sponsorship Brochure
    Open Forum Events offer a number of partnership, sponsorship and exhibition opportunities that can meet your marketing and business development needs.
  • settling-in-britain.pdf
  • Final Speaker Presentations
    Final Speaker Presentations

who will attend

Chief Medical Officers
Clinical/Medical Directors
Directors/Heads of Adult Social Services
Directors/Heads of Children and Young People’s Services
Directors/Heads of Public Health
Heads of Charities/Third Sector Organisations
Heads of Housing Team
Heads of Mental Health and Learning Disability Teams
Health and Wellbeing Board members
Social Workers
14-19 Partnership Teams
Academics and Researchers
Allied Health Professionals
Asylum and Immigration Officers
Benefits Officers
Chairs of NHS Trust Board
Chief Constables
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Practitioners
Child and Educational Psychologists
Child Protection and Safeguarding Teams
Child Protection Officers
Children’s Health Service Professionals
Children’s Services Officers
Director/Heads Adoption and Fostering Agencies
Director/Heads Connexions and Jobcentre Plus
Director/Heads Employment and Training Services
Director/Heads Homelessness Teams
Director/Heads Local Education Authorities

Director/Heads Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards
Director/Heads Supported Housing Teams
Director/Heads Welfare Rights Organisations
Directors / Heads of Nursing
Directors/Heads of Housing Associations
Early Years and Childcare Practitioners
Education and Welfare Officers
Education Providers
Education/Training and Development Managers
Equality and Diversity / Inclusion ManagersWorkers
Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Practitioners
Extra Care Housing Managers/Homecare
General Practitioners and Teams
Housing Services Management Team Leads
Local Authority Officers
Mental Health Practitioners
Neighbourhood Officers/Managers
Principal Officers – Health and Housing
Residential Children’s Home Managers
School Nurses and Health Visitors
Schools, Colleges and Further Education Providers
Strategic Planning and Commissioning Teams
Teachers and Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators
Youth Inclusion Teams