The Lived Experience Advisory Forum (LEAF) won the ‘A Stronger Voice’ award at Homeless Link’s annual Excellence Awards on 2nd December 2021.

The awards celebrate the best of the homelessness and supported housing sector, with the ‘A Stronger Voice’ award recognising a person, group or service that is highlighting the true nature and scale of homelessness while challenging the systems that aren’t working for those experiencing it.

LEAF received the award for its work in amplifying the experiences and opinions of people with a lived experience of homelessness in Oxford, working to ensure that the voices of those with this experience are the loudest and most listened to.

Set up in 2019 with no initial funding, LEAF is led by people with lived experience of homelessness with the aim of making sure their experiences influence the way homelessness services are run in the area, funding by and sitting as part of the Oxfordshire Homeless Movement steering group, with support from Aspire and the Oxford Gatehouse.

LEAF has been involved in various research projects and amplified the voices of people experiencing homelessness to create significant change, including recommissioning the Oxfordshire homeless pathway. The judging panel were particularly impressed by LEAF’s commitment to empowering people experiencing homelessness and using these experiences to challenge local systems.

Nikki Aitchison, Head of Employment Projects at Aspire and co-founder of LEAF, says:

"To win this award is great recognition to all the hard work we have seen from LEAF over the past few years. To have a grass roots group of people driving change is so exciting and a huge thank you to Homeless Link and to all the incredible nominees and winners."

Rick Henderson, CEO at Homeless Link, the national membership charity for frontline homelessness organisations, says:

“Embedding the unique experiences and opinions of people with lived experience of homelessness is vital if services are to truly represent the needs of people in their area. LEAF’s commitment to achieving this in Oxford has already produced tangible results, encapsulating the spirit of the Stronger Voice award.”

Find out more about LEAF