Refugees and people seeking asylum are among the Londoners furthest from power, with their voices very rarely heard by the officials and decision makers whose policies, practices and strategies impact their lives.

For too long the unique strengths of refugee community organisations (RCOs) including their reach, knowledge, expertise, insight and evidence have been overlooked.

Traditionally, local, regional and national governance bodies have often relied on large voluntary sector organisations to act as specialist experts and advisors and provide feedback to policy and decision makers on how existing and proposed policies, practices and strategies impact on the lives of refugees and asylum seekers.

The Refugee Advocacy Forum aims to bring about systems change by empowering RCOs to use their unique strengths to establish a direct influencing and engagement mechanism between RCOs and local, regional and national power structures on a pan-London basis.

The Refugee Advocacy Forum was established in 2018 by the Refugee Council with funds from the City of London Corporation’s charity, City Bridge trust. Supported by the Refugee Council, 14 founding members started the forum and three years later, its membership grew to 45 members. The Forum came into being through collaboration, co-production and community empowerment; and these ways of working remain the tenets of how the forum operates. 


The forum is currently governed by a board of seven individuals democratically elected by members of the forum.

The board plays a leadership role over the forum’s advocacy work, and it shapes the forum’s strategic directions.

We aim to create open, transparent dialogue with people in position of power in order to achieve positive changes to policy and practice for refugee communities.