Case Study

Reaching the grassroots in Stockton and Carlisle 

Posted by Katherine Maxwell-Rose on February 9, 2024


In September 2022, IMIX attended a City of Sanctuary conference where we met a representative from the network in Carlisle, who told us about the number of asylum seekers housed there with little support infrastructure. Through this contact, our Head of Voices was introduced to Kaveh, an Iranian refugee who had crossed by small boat and wanted to speak to the media, but was not yet fully confident in English. Using her Farsi skills, our Head of Voices conducted safeguarding and supported Kaveh to do multiple interviews, including with ITV and a first-person piece in The Metro, in which he explained why the Rwanda scheme was not a deterrent for those who are desperately trying to seek safety. Later, Kaveh addressed a media briefing, where his comments were picked by PA News and distributed widely.

In June 2023, IMIX’s Head of Voices and North East Comms Co-ordinator delivered an in-person training day for ten asylum seekers and refugees in Carlisle. Due to IMIX’s work in Carlisle, other members of the Iranian and Afghan community have contacted the Head of Voices wishing to share their story, including four Afghan female footballers and two asylum seekers who shared their stories anonymously on IMIX’s Human Journeys Instagram.


In 2023, with the government increasingly using asylum dispersal in smaller towns, and ‘Red Wall’ areas being particularly of interest to the media, IMIX approached Asylum Matters, another regionally-embedded organisation, about providing additional support to Stockton-on-Tees, in County Durham.

After IMIX’s North East Co-ordinator met local charities in May 2023, IMIX worked with Asylum Matters to deliver a day of in-person training in January 2024 to 14 members of grassroots charities from Stockton and the surrounding area. The training was informed by consultation with the organisations about what was most useful to them.

During the training, IMIX invited the participants to join our network and identify stories they would like to share in the media. We successfully pitched a powerful piece to the local BBC team which involved two Afghan dentists who are unable to work despite the shortage of dentists in the local area.