About the Refugee Solidarity Summit

Every year, huge numbers of people act in solidarity with refugees. Since 2015, this number has surged with volunteer first responders emerging, addressing urgent and unmet needs of displaced people in the UK and across Europe, often working in very difficult and hostile environments. Much of this humanitarian work is undertaken voluntarily, its impact is enormous, yet often goes unacknowledged.

Volunteers have built support-systems that would otherwise be lacking for displaced people – often amidst grueling conditions. Initiatives range from search-and-rescue missions to the provision of regular warm meals, shelter, healthcare, therapy, informal education, legal advice and compassionate human contact. In the past year, volunteers and staff have reported unprecedented levels of trauma and burn-out. 

This Summit is an opportunity to regroup, receive training and support and build resilience in the face of an increasingly hostile environment.

Summit purpose

The Summit is being designed to facilitate this reflection and ensure that it occurs in a safe and constructive environment. It will offer:

  • Training and support for frontline individuals and groups. 
  • Participatory workshops to explore how we can better address key challenges for volunteers including trauma and criminalisation.
  • Reflections from refugee activists about ways of better understanding and responding to the unmet needs of displaced people
  • Explorations around successes, challenges and opportunities for collaboration. 

There will also be plenty of time to network, and there will be relaxation, movement-building and culture zones that offer different models of organising and sharing.

What will happen there?

The Summit will offer trainings, information exchanges and advice sessions for front-line staff and volunteers, including:

Supporting Sustainable Action;

  • Processing and responding to difficult experiences; 
  • Safeguarding and best practice;
  • Addressing difficult group dynamics;
  • Recognising systemic barriers to getting support;
  • Realising our interdependence and working with empathy;

Moving from Crisis to Response: 

  • Participatory decision-making; collaborating and group dynamics;
  • Decolonising our approach; 
  • Mobilising through positive action;
  • Facing and transforming challenges; and 
  • Non-violent communication, de-escalation, conflict resolution and transformation.

Building a Generative Culture

  • Self-care interventions and techniques;
  • Changing the paradigm: putting care at the heart of how we organise; and maintaining healthy boundaries in our work
  • Recognising and attending to trauma and burnout.

A grassroots approach

The Solidarity Summit reflects needs that have been clearly expressed across our networks. The Public Call for content will be circulated by people within our networks to those who can best respond. This technique is intended to ripple out to small and frontline organisations. We will support under-resourced people and groups to respond to the Public Calls.

The Summit organisers will build a programme that reflects the diverse content generated through this method and that meets the needs of participants.

Refugee / migrant leadership

People with lived experience are leading the way in developing approaches to solidarity that are powerful and game-changing.

The Solidarity Summit will prioritise content from people with refugee or migrant backgrounds; will focus on work that fundamentally respects and gives power to people with lived experience; or that emphasises the importance of a decolonised approach.

Culture of C.A.R.E.

C = compassion

A = awareness

R = respect

E = empathy

If we wish to create a world that humanises and cares about refugees and migrants, then we need to operate in humane and caring ways.

Financial Transparency  Statement 

Tickets Revenue 

The event is a non profit making venture, however there are production costs associated with putting on an event of this scale and as such the organisers are charging a nominal fee for tickets. 

Solidarity tickets

We will be selling a number of top tier tickets which are being offered to larger organisations and NGOs to buy, as a way to support the grassroots network.

Our funders

The Refugee Solidarity Summit is being supported by  LUSH Cosmetics UK and Network For Social change as well as numerous other donations large and small from individuals and entities.

Summit legacy

The Summit is a first-step in creating a support-network for those standing in solidarity with refugees, led by volunteers and refugee activists. It will inspire deep collaborations to address key challenges more collectively.

Its legacy will include

  • Signposts to training and support defined by suggestions and requests made by summit attendees.
  • A shared online resource including best practice guides specific to our field.
  • Possible revenue generated by the sale of Summit ticket, which  will be held in trust and invested back into the sector.

The Refugee Solidarity Summit 

is a collaborative project organised by Solidarity with Refugees UK, weareone:collective and Humans For Rights Network.