Dear Hosts, Home Visitors & Supporters,

Happy Birthday to us

A second birthday is a real milestone in the life of a tiny charity, so we thought we would use it to say a huge THANK YOU to those people who have ensured we have got this far and achieved so much. And it’s a fabulous excuse to celebrate, so we did.

Our wonderful pro-bono lawyers Travers Smith hosted the party at their London offices and everything was donated – nothing came from our charitable funds.

In our December newsletter, we asked hosts and home visitors to say if they wanted to join us for a party to mark two years of being us- and quite a few of you came along.

It was a great opportunity for an almost wholly virtual organization to actually see what each other looks like. There was a lot of hugging of total strangers!

Our thanks to Anna Hindocha, of WarmGlow photos, who took the pics.

We are just working out how to sell the extra bags- They are going to be a must-have accessory! Watch this space.

Fundraising

Lots of lovely people have done fund-raising for us recently – from an amazing concert raising over £4,000 to a school cake sale. Two couples have asked for donations instead of wedding gifts – how lovely is that as a way to start married life?

People are running and walking, selling biscuits and making marmalade. We particularly like the last idea as it was Paddington’s favourite food and, as he was a hosted migrant to the UK, very apt for fund-raising.

We would love to hear about any ideas for fundraising, which you want to organise. If you need some badges or posters, we can supply them. If you want a speaker, we may manage that too.

But anything independent is just wonderful (we are small and stretched still)

Inspiration? We would appreciate it.

And does anyone want to join the grant-application team? There are three applications underway at the moment, but the man and woman-power could do with enhancing. Do just email: info@refugeesathome.org.

Placements & data

Lots of placements recently. And some interesting new facts too. We have made more than 930 placements in the last couple of years – or well over 1,000 if you count all the people placed separately. We’ve now hosted for about 62,000 individual person nights. And – new fact – we have helped over 550 people from 54 different nationalities.

Our guests’ top countries of origin are Syria, Eritrea, Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan and Ethiopia. And the proportion of women has increased a little too – we now host about 28% women – so it’s still clear why we pine for hosts who will take men.

Home Visitors

We have used our new method for checking-up whether home visits have happened for a couple of months now and think it’s helping – of course a few people who didn’t need them have had reminders. But we think more visits are getting done a little quicker, which has to help.

Some Home Visitors don’t think we communicate enough about “your” hosts. So we are going to start copying you into admin team enquiries about placements which are due to end soon. Sometimes the Home Visitor knows more about progress in the hosting than the core admin team, so we hope this will help everyone feel more informed.

Do please tell us if you can’t do a visit you thought you could, we can always change it. Just let us know.

Hosts

Could we make a plea – when a guest leaves you, do please email info@refugeesathome.org and let us know. We can’t guess – and sometimes they go quickly or unexpectedly. If we don’t know, we can’t stay up to date and we feel all woolly and uncertain. It doesn’t take a minute.

UNHCR exhibition – A Great British Welcome

LOTS of media coverage linked to this exhibition at St Martins in the Fields in Trafalgar Square until the middle of March. It features 12 host/guest photos, seven of those are from the UK and all but one of those are our hosts. You can find the stories and videos here: http://www.unhcr.org/a-great-british-welcome.html

What’s more, Shoshana and Faraj are due to take part in a TED talk salon in London in April.

We just hope it will raise the profile of hosting and help us find more potential hosts who know that hosting can enhance the lives of both host and guest alike.

For now, all our thanks,

Sara and the team

Refugees At Home

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