Our impact

IMIX was established in 2016 to increase communications capacity in the refugee and migration sector.

Impact in numbers

  • 174 stories placed in mainstream media in 2023 – roughly three a week
  • 34 media training sessions in 2022-23 reaching more than 750 individuals
  • Individual coaching for 15 lived experience Ambassadors in 2023

IMIX has been involved in many of the most critical media moments of the past few years, from supporting victims of the Windrush Scandal to share their stories to supporting calls for Ukrainian and Afghan resettlement schemes, as well as recent campaigns against refugee homelessness and off-shoring asylum claims.

In 2022-23 we delivered media training to more than 750 individuals in the refugee and migration sector, including at least 189 individuals with lived experience of migration, and organisations across the UK including Carlisle, Kent, Bradford, Liverpool, and Yorkshire. Our training includes how to work with the media, understanding and targeting audiences, interview practice and harnessing the potential of digital campaigning. We have run the Refugee Week and International Migrants Day Ambassador programmes, which provide intensive media coaching to a group of carefully-selected individual campaigners with lived experience.

Our team of media professionals is in constant demand from the wider sector. Through providing advice, mentoring and pitching support to individual grassroots organisations where it’s needed, we help place on average three stories a week in media outlets including The Guardian, ITV and The Metro. Our daily news round up, re-launched as a newsletter in 2023, has 400 subscribers. We are regularly approached to create short films for social media, including celebrating Refugee Week, International Migrants Day and the successful campaign for free school meals.

At the heart of IMIX’s approach is bringing people together to find areas of mutual interest and collaboration. We host a sector-wide Google Group with around 1,000 members, as well as chairing a monthly Communications Meeting bringing together members of the sector from large charities to grassroots campaigners. We also host off-the-record media briefings in order to allow frontline workers and people with lived experience a safe opportunity to speak to journalists. And we provide messaging advice and crisis communications support at times of breaking news.

If you would like to hear more about what we do, please get in touch.

IMIX has increased our awareness of the importance of putting people with lived experience at the heart of our campaign work. This has been a game changer in terms of increasing public and media attention and subsequently gaining support.

Penny Henry – Tynemouth Together With Refugees

IMIX's strategic direction and creativity in our work with press & broadcasters has brought a step-change in our reach across the country

Tom Green – Counterpoints Arts

Our stories

IMIX works transparently, sharing our learnings and improving our services based on our experiences. We’d love to hear from you if you have any feedback or want to hear more about how we can work with your organisation.

Refugee Week

IMIX is proud to have supported Refugee Week to reach new audiences since 2016. Over the past eight years, we have delivered media coverage reaching millions, including positive coverage on Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff, CBeebies and BBC Sunday Morning Live as well as in The Metro, The Guardian, The Mirror, Elle, Stylist, National Geographic and many other magazines and newspapers.

The intensive training we provide to Refugee Week Ambassadors builds confidence to share authentic and powerful firsthand accounts of what it means to be a refugee living in the UK today. Our Ambassadors have gone on to create or run organisations, start their own awareness campaigns, publish poetry and short stories, and address conferences. Our Refugee Week Ambassadors helped to shape and later featured in The Mirror‘s People Move campaign.

Read more about the impact of the Refugee Week Ambassador Programme.

Thanks to our experience in delivering the Ambassador programme, since 2021 our team has also delivered the International Migrants Day Ambassador programme for the International Organisation of Migration.

In 2023, IMIX trained and mentored 15 ambassadors developing their skills and expertise in communicating and campaigning. Ambassadors grew in confidence in speaking publicly about the issues that affect them and in sharing their story with the media.

 

The Ambassador programme is such a fantastic part of Refugee Week. Every year we get the privilege of meeting inspiring people who have sought sanctuary in the UK and see them share their powerful stories with different media outlets with the goal of changing the narrative around migration and displacement to a more compassionate one. Not only do their stories help amplify the festival’s mission of celebrating the contributions of refugees here in the UK but as a group, the ambassadors are a wonderful and joyful community to be a part of! 

Counterpoints Arts 

Windrush

Photographs by Wolverhampton City Council

IMIX worked with JCWI, Runnymede Trust, RMC and Praxis Community Projects to work out how we could make a difference to members of the Windrush generation. We wanted to secure their status as British citizens, while shining a light on the pernicious and harmful effects of the hostile environment and its impact on other people who choose to make the UK their home.

The members of the Windrush generation were the real heroes of this campaign and their stories unlocked the support of the entire UK media. We had 77 front page stories over the course of the scandal and 20 per cent of the population said they’d read about the scandal. The media storm led to people from the Windrush generation receiving an apology from the government and a process to confirm their status, transforming hundreds of people’s lives.

Our hard work was recognised at the PR Week Awards 2018 as Best Cause-Led Campaign alongside our partners where we were highly commended.

Channel Crossings

Since 2019, IMIX has worked to coordinate a strategic media response to spontaneous arrivals across the Channel, including providing regular training to refugee support groups in Kent, often the subject of intense media interest, and supporting experts by experience to speak to the media on their own terms.

Our work has included providing in-person training to Kent Refugee Action Network’s Youth Ambassador team, and Dover-based Samphire’s experts by experience steering group. We have also provided back-up support for these organisations and others at time of low capacity or breaking news.

IMIX has also identified experts by experience through our own network who are willing to speak about why they crossed by small boat. By providing safeguarding and establishing appropriate boundaries, we have supported them to provide the often-missing lived experience voice on programmes such as Newsnight and ITV News as well as writing opinion pieces for The Metro and The Independent among other newspapers.

Building trust is essential to telling the stories of those who make dangerous journeys. IMIX has organised off-the-record briefings, both online and in-person, in order to allow people who crossed and the families of those who died to talk directly to journalists. With the permission of those involved, this led to coverage in PA News as well as i News.

In order to create a better public understanding of an alternative to dangerous crossings, IMIX worked with experts by experience, sector organisations and More In Common to develop and test messaging around safe routes, which is now a resource used by other campaigners in the sector.

Brexit and Settled Status

IMIX has worked with more than 40 organisations that support EU citizens to raise awareness for the EU settlement scheme, the new immigration status for EU citizens in the UK.

We produced and published a short, animated video to inform EU citizens about the application process in January 2019 when the scheme opened for a public test phase. The video was widely used and shared by our partner organisations and citizens’ rights campaigners.

Our main goal is to communicate the EU Settlement Scheme to vulnerable groups who are lacking the information and support they need to secure their right to stay in the UK after Brexit. We are proud to support charities who work with those groups in their communications and media activities. We have been successful in bringing marginalised voices from the Roma community, victims of domestic violence and elderly people into the media to highlight how Brexit has affected their daily lives.

We secured extensive multi-media coverage on the scheme with Sky News, Channel 4, BBC, Metro, Huffington Post, The Economist, FT and The Guardian.

Training and Mentoring

IMIX delivers training to grassroots organisations and campaigners in multiple ways.

We provide free, quarterly introductory online masterclasses covering media, social media and safeguarding for people with lived experience.

We also provide bespoke training, both online and in person, which is free for smaller organisations. Our focus on outreach has led us to deliver workshops in Carlisle, Stockton, Kent and other areas underserved by media and comms charities. We are regularly invited to deliver training by organisations such as City of Sanctuary, Hope not Hate and Refugee Week.

We have developed workshops designed specifically for our sector to build confidence in specific media skills, such as interview training, anonymous photography, speaking to different audiences, crisis comms and establishing trust.

We are currently piloting a mentorship model with Action Asylum, which we hope to expand to refugee journalists and others seeking to learn digital media skills.

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