NACCOM members, supporters and partners came together in York on Thursday March 7th 2024 for the network’s Annual Conference. Over 140 delegates representing 65 organisations attended the one-day event, which aimed to promote learning, good practice and solidarity across the NACCOM network.  

During the day, delegates had the opportunity to participate in a series of practical workshops on topics including building lived experience representation, developing accommodation projects, and campaigning ahead of a general election, as well as network with other members from across the UK 

Highlights of the day included a panel discussion on the far-reaching impacts of the Illegal Migration Act, featuring Renae Mann, Executive Director of Services at the Refugee Council, Eiri Ohtani, Director, Right to Remain, and Sonia Lenegan, immigration, asylum and public law solicitor and Editor of Free Movement 

Poet and activist Loraine Masiya Mponela
The Guardian's Patrick Butler
Eiri Ohtani, Sonia Lenegan and Renae Mann

The Guardian’s Social Policy Editor, Patrick Butler, delivered a keynote speech to a packed conference hall that explored the current political and media context surrounding refugee and migration issues, the changing landscape of social affairs, and the role of journalism in highlighting injustice.

The conference concluded with a powerful and moving reading of the poem “Ubuntu, by poet and activist Loraine Masiya Mponela, a friend and supporter of NACCOM. The event also had a strong focus on wellbeing, with delegates prompted to undertake mindful colouring and other reflective activities during the day, a hot buffet lunch provided by local social enterprise restaurant and caterer Yahala Mataam, and the chance to view original artworks from the illustrator Ada Jusic, created for our recent report Refused? Experiences following a negative asylum decision.’ 

Bridget Young, NACCOM’s Director, commented: “During what is an incredibly challenging time for refugees, people seeking asylum and migrants in the UK, as well as the frontline organisations supporting them, we were heartened to have so many members, people with lived experience, partners and supporters join us to celebrate and galvanise our work. It’s a timely and vital reminder that our movement to end migrant destitution and homelessness is strong, resourceful, and growing, and that together we can achieve change.” 

“We wanted people to walk away from the conference feeling empowered, nourished, and motivated to continue and build on our collective work. A huge thank you to all those who attended and contributed. Hearing the beautiful words of Loraine’s poem, Ubuntu“I am, because we are” – really reflects what the NACCOM network is all about. It was a truly special day.”