Leaders with lived experience

Too often we are encouraged to hide the negative experiences, but what if we used them as drivers for change?

We have partnered with The Social Innovation Partnership (TSIP) on a new initiative to support people with lived experiences of social issues to drive social change.

We’re looking for a group of people based in Birmingham and Bristol, who have direct lived experience of social injustice and are in the early stages of using these experiences to drive positive change.

We believe that first-hand experience of social issues, like addiction and homelessness, gives a legitimate understanding of the challenges that people in similar circumstances are facing, and an authentic insight to the potential solutions needed. We call these people experts by experience.

Over the next four months, we will work alongside a group of experts by experience in each city to address the key barriers preventing people from using their life experiences to lead change. In both locations we will engage influencers and organisations to collaborate with, and identify a joint challenge that needs to change.

Our goal is for more experts by experience to be in positions of power and influence, so they can use their lived expertise to pioneer, lead and co-create positive social change in society.

Backed by the Big Lottery Fund, the ultimate aim of this work is to create more equitable opportunities for those who want to use their lived expertise to solve some of the biggest problems facing their communities, and society more broadly.

Any questions? Get in touch with Shamiela Ahmed

What's in it for me?
  • Space and time to identify and challenge the systems that promote social inequality
  • Opportunity to collaborate and explore big ideas with a peer group of experts by their own experiences
  • Training to carry out interviews and analyse the findings
  • Support to design and lead a workshop that highlights the barriers identified by the group
  • Opportunity to expand and strengthen networks across the city with organisations relevant to your practice
  • Payment of £500 to participate
  • Tailored practical support to apply for funding.
  • Have direct personal experience of social injustice(s) (we call this ‘lived expertise’)*
  • Be in the early stages of using their lived expertise to drive positive change: by working within an existing organisation (e.g. charity, community groups, private or public body); by setting up your own initiative; through campaigning and/or other advocacy work
  • Have a proven commitment, passion and drive to challenge social injustice and inequality within the current systems and structures in society that hold power
  • Be available to engage in the project over the next four to six months
  • Be aged 18 or over
  • Live in the Birmingham or Bristol region.

Our Partners


How to apply and workshop dates

Applications are now open. Workshops will run from 9.30am-3.30pm on the following dates:


You can submit a video application or a written application – whichever you find easiest. The deadline for all applications is 10am, Tuesday 3rd April 2018.

Bristol workshops

Workshop 1 Thursday 11 April

Workshop 2 Thursday 3 May

Workshop 3 Thursday 24 May

Workshop 4 Thursday 14 June

Workshop 5 Thursday 21 June

Workshop 6 Thursday 12 July

Birmingham workshops

Workshop 1 Wednesday 4 April

Workshop 2 Wednesday 25 April

Workshop 3 Thursday 17 May

Workshop 4 Thursday 7 June

Workshop 5 Thursday 14 June

Workshop 6 Wednesday 4 July

Submit your application

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