Dear Friends,

Refugee Week 19-25 June 2017

This is the next big event in our calendar – and we have lots going on.

R@H admin team members are at the V&A museum next Friday, the 23rd, and at University of Westminster on the Saturday morning, plus we have given interviews that will appear on all sorts of TV, newspapers, magazine, newswires and whatever else over the week, so keep an eye out for us.

  • But the big event for us is the Our Shared Future open event at the Royal Festival Hall on Saturday 24th from 12-5. Please come along and have a seat at our kitchen table – have a biscuit and a chat with fellow hosts, home visitors and guests, we’ll have some toys and activities to keep children entertained….and then go and sample the food, music and colour all around the Southbank. It is always a great fun event- it would be good to see you there, even if briefly. And have I mentioned the biscuits?

Loads of our friends, ex-guests, supporters and partner organisations have fantastic events going on in the next few weeks too. A few highlights here:

  • Georgia Ladbury, a south London host, has arranged a great cake swap on Streatham Common for the Great Get Together in memory of Jo Cox- this and loads more events here.
  • The Great Get Together/Big Lunch might be an opportunity for you to recruit hosts from among your neighbours – we are as ever keen for more, especially in London, Brighton, Bristol, Manchester and, unexpectedly Gloucester and High Wycombe. I have booked my guest to demonstrate the benefits of hosting – he is on bunting-erection duty at our street party. Could you do anything more British?
  • On 19th June Hassan Akkad (of Bafta-winning Exodus fame, and one of our first guests) and HelpRefugees are hosting an afternoon at the V&A, find out more
  • And on 23rd and 24th, our very first guest, Ahmad al Rashid (also from Exodus) is part of the Living Library at the V&A, hosted by the migration collective. This is a chance to ask him questions about his experience.

There is loads more going on- it’s a busy and exciting few weeks! We look forward to meeting some of you at one event or another.

First employee

If you are in touch with us regularly, you may have noticed the core team have been a tad frazzled recently – although we hope it hasn’t impinged too much: we have been grossly overworked and we all have “proper” jobs and/or toddlers, elderly parents, demanding partners or all of the above.

Plus the holiday season looms and we were really concerned that we just wouldn’t be able to keep up and try to help all the guests referred over the summer. So we are taking on a placements administrator for three months.

Some of you may get to talk to Jodie Anderson, who is an immigration barrister, an emergency host, has helped with our social media and is an all round good egg. Please say yes if she asks for more information, help with anything or more time.

And if you have a brilliant idea for how we should fund-raise to cover a salary, that would be great too. We have never asked anyone for any money so far and have spent what we have only on guests’ travel but this isn’t sustainable without a serious diminution of the service we are trying to offer.

We think, now we qualify for Gift Aid and have our own JustGiving page, some donors may come forward. Any inspiration please to Donna Williams treasurer@refugeesathome.org

Placements & Summer hosting.

We have now hosted for over 29,000 person nights – the magic 30,000 looms.

We had made 580 placements by 15 June. But it is getting tight as the kiddies come back from uni and people think about summer hols.

Some people are happy to leave their guests in situ when they go away, a few positively prefer it, but many hosts ask us to find alternative hosts when they go away.

One reason not to do so happened earlier this week: a guest foiled a burglary at his absent hosts’ house. The hosts had flown off to Majorca, leaving their Syrian guest behind. The very next day he came home from work at 0040 to find the house had been burgled. He rang me, I rang 999 and went over (not everyone gets this service – the host in question is my sister-in-law). The police came quite quickly. They said he had disturbed the burglars who saw him return and fled. Nothing was taken. The police said his presence had made all the difference.

A guest in residence can water the plants, feed the cat and makes a successful burglary less likely. And we have NEVER had an allegation of theft against one of our guests.

Recent media

For the first time in my life I bought Vogue magazine this week- Because on page 65 there is the story of Samantha and her guest. It’s really moving and inspiring. You can read it here.

The implication might be that you need to be beautiful with an immaculate house to host, but most of us know that isn’t the case, and Samantha says Vogue brought along the clothes and make-up. It’s a lovely article and we have had our first new host application from it already.

Resources

Just the regular reminder that our Resource Database is getting bigger all the time and we hope you might like to take a look at it and possibly add services you know about to it. You can find it at http://refsource.gebnet.co.uk/

 

All the best for now and do have a lovely summer.

All the best

Sara and the core team
Refugees At Home
www.refugeesathome.org
facebook.com/refugeesathome
twitter.com/refugeesathome