Here we are well into the autumn and, with the clocks going back, our potential guests have ever more need of your hospitality. A night or two in the park might not be the end of the world in the summer but there is a real nip in the air now and it is positively cold at night. So we may be calling you with more requests for emergency placements over the next few months. We do so appreciate it when the immediate response is “Sure, send them over” even if it is only for a night or two – gives us some breathing and casting around space.
At the moment we are working hard at the day job of acquiring new hosts, sorting them out and then making placements while trying to outline, finance and establish a scheme for giving help with travel costs to guests of hosts who would find it hard to provide this extra.
So we have applied to the Aviva community fund and hope for a substantial grant. To achieve that, we need your help. You may have seen our mailing (and if you have responded already, many thanks)
The link is:
Every email address has ten votes. Every member of your household can vote. Please, please do so. We are doing well but other groups are ahead of us. And £10 – 25,000 is at stake!
When you’ve voted, can you share with all your networks – particularly those rooting for refugees. Closing date November 18th.
We had made 213 placements by 3 November, which is a huge growth. And that’s 7,424 hosted nights – which is really quite a few – almost all since early February. Our shortest placement is obviously one night. Our longest is still held by the Headley, Surrey family and their three Iranian guests.
We have 193 hosts who are ready to host or actually hosting and another 122 unassessed. A lot of the latter have Home Visitors assigned and should be ready by the end of the month, others either aren’t ready to host or live somewhere where we don’t yet have a Home Visitor.
The next challenge is the holiday season. I can already sense that many of you may be going away or have family to stay and not be able to host. I’m not sure how we are going to deal with this –it’s our first festive season. If you CAN host, we are really grateful. If you CAN’T, we would love to know well in advance. If you can take in an extra guest for late December/early January, we would be jolly grateful.
The Kingston-on-Thames hub got off to a cracking start in October with a social attended by active hosts, several guests and a couple of potential hosts too. Surrey is going well and very informally, west London is growing quite fast. Ruth is starting to pull together a Bristol hub inauguration, bringing the influx of hosts there together (see below). Manchester may be next. Nina is working on getting the hubs going as we get more hosts relatively close together. Please sing out if you would like to help form one in your patch.
This edition’s stories: H is a young Iranian Christian – we have a LOT of guests who are, it’s maybe our second or third biggest group, behind Syrians and similar to Eritreans. So he got status in Leeds but didn’t know what to do next. He’s only 23 and has very little English. 28 days later he was evicted and travelled to London. He showed up at Refugee Action Kingston, having slept rough and had nothing to eat for two days. They gave him some money for food and sent him to us. One experienced host took him in for one night, but had family arriving next day. So he moved to New Malden and a new – in every sense – host. So new, he had to help clear and prepare his bedroom. I don’t suppose it hurt him. Next week he moves to a two-week placement and then we will see.
The other story is one of a whole town: Bristol has gone bonkers! We have had six referrals in as many days. This required emergency action, so Facebook was deployed. The post was seen over 33,000 times (think about it) in four days, featured in the Bristol Post, and resulted in about ten new hosts coming forward in Bristol and others elsewhere. We should have placed all those guests, including a brother and sister, by the time you read this. You may like social media or not – but sometimes it really does the business.
Once again, very many thanks and good wishes,
Sara and the core team
Refugees At Home