The Lived Experience Panel - Breaking Barriers

The Lived Experience Panel

Find out about our Lived Experience Panel and the impact their involvement has on our work

Share this

What is the Lived Experience Panel?

The Lived Experience Panel are people who work with Breaking Barriers as consultants and are integral to the work we do. We define the term ‘lived experience’ as those who are seeking asylum with the right to work, refugees and those who have experienced Breaking Barriers support.

We want to ensure that lived experience is at the heart of our work. We believe that this is essential to develop effective policies, programmes, and services that are responsive to the needs of our community and the issues that they face.

The Lived Experience Panel is one of the greatest achievements for Breaking Barriers in 2023. Having a group of consultants from a lived experience background to help us truly place a client and data led approach at the heart and centre of our work is extremely vital to our mission, and we have already seen their significant impact on our services.

Abdulrahman, Lived Experienced Officer

What do the Lived Experience Panel do?

Our Lived Experience Panel work in partnership with staff throughout the organisation, contributing to new and ongoing projects, events, and workshops along with shaping decision-making processes at every level. Their role can vary from strategic management and planning to front line service delivery.

In the first 3 months, the Panel has worked cross organisationally making many contributions, including:

  • Assisting in the recruitment process for Breaking Barriers’ new CEO and the Director of People.
  • Assisting in the recruitment process which led to hiring individuals with a lived experience.
  • Sharing feedback and perspectives about our relationship with funders.
  • Shaping and participating in events with our business partners.
  • Managing and participating in group discussions that focus on the challenges that refugees face when trying to enter employment or education in the UK.
  • Sharing their perspective on the accessibility of our storytelling process.

We worked with Abdulrahman and a member of the panel whilst recruiting for Employment Advisors in Greater Manchester and Birmingham. Both Abdulrahman and the consultant, Marsha, were extremely helpful, accommodating, patient, and brought some great insight to the recruitment process. They also supported us in a mini review of recruitment practices for Employment Advisors in Greater Manchester and Birmingham, through which we have recently recruited two new advisers from refugee backgrounds.

Amee, Programme Manager (Manchester)

The impact of the Lived Experience Panel

Having the Lived Experience Panel has significantly enriched our staff’s knowledge of the unique struggles and perspectives of the individuals we serve.

The valuable input from our consultants has had a profound impact on our team’s confidence when communicating with our partners and different stakeholders about the barriers our clients face.

We recognise that our panel members are not just people with lived experience as refugees or asylum seekers, but more importantly, they are professional individuals with rich backgrounds.

As well as enabling tangible input from individuals outside the organisation, one of the main areas of focus for Breaking Barriers is to create meaningful and supportive employment and learning opportunities for panel members.

We are therefore committed to supporting all panel members through training and well being support so that they can contribute their best.

Meet the Panel

Find out more about each panel member by selecting their profile:

Meet the Panel

Yusuf

Lived Experience Panel consultant
Meet the Panel

Yusuf

Lived Experience Panel consultant

My name is Yusuf, and I am a Syrian refugee living in London. In 2018, I came across Breaking Barriers, helping me to improve my skills and increase my abilities into the workforce, I decided to give back by becoming a volunteer, to help other refugees.
I am proud to be a member of the Lived Experience Panel, a platform that empowers me to actively participate in shaping decisions and strategies aimed at assisting refugees.

Meet the Panel

Marsha

Lived Experience Panel consultant
Meet the Panel

Marsha

Lived Experience Panel consultant

Greetings! I am Marsha, a proud consultant of Breaking Barriers Lived Experience Panel 2023. It has been my absolute privilege to be part of the former brand ambassador council and current Lived Experience panel at Breaking Barriers. I have gained as well as shared vital knowledge and experience identifying the barriers on the journey to meaningful employment for refugees and migrants in the UK. I look forward to seeing successful businesses in the modern United Kingdom becoming more welcoming and offering ample empowerment opportunities to skilled refugees and asylum seekers.

Meet the Panel

Nawal

Lived Experience Panel consultant
Meet the Panel

Nawal

Lived Experience Panel consultant

Hi, I’m Nawal! I’m a student who is also juggling part-time work. Beyond my studies and job, I’m a passionate advocate for change. I’m honoured to be part of the Breaking Barriers team as an ‘Expert by Experience.’ This means I share my personal journey and experiences as a refugee to help improve the service for others like me. My goal is to make a difference by using my story to inspire positive changes and enhance the support we provide, helping more people, just like me, find their path to self-reliance and independence in a new country.

Meet the Panel

Tetiana

Lived Experience Panel consultant
Meet the Panel

Tetiana

Lived Experience Panel consultant

Hello, I am Tetiana, a skilled Ukrainian lawyer who is an active member of the Breaking Barriers Lived Experience panel. I have adapted to life in the UK and am presently devoted to advancing my skills, actively working towards improving my English with the goal of obtaining certification as a lawyer in the UK. I am propelled by a profound devotion to social justice and a commitment to addressing refugees’ issues. My contributions to Breaking Barriers are a result of my dedication to positively influencing the lives of those in search of refuge.

Meet the Panel

Gabriel

Lived Experience Panel consultant
Meet the Panel

Gabriel

Lived Experience Panel consultant

Hello, my name is Gabriel. Through my own lived experience, I have a deep understanding of the challenges faced by refugees. My personal journey as a client of Breaking Barriers has allowed me to witness first-hand, the transformative support provided by BB. Inspired by this experience, I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to BB’s mission, creating effective and positive change for individuals seeking sanctuary.

Get involved

If you are someone who has experienced our services as a client or worked with us as a volunteer or partner, we would love to hear your experience with us

Email us