Dear Hosts, Home Visitors & Supporters,

MERRY EVERYTHING

It looks like we are going to get everyone moved and hosted by the end of the week (famous last words) though of course the team can’t promise to find somewhere for everyone who is referred between now and then.
Thank you so much to everyone who has volunteered to take in a guest over the holidays, to those who have applied to host in the last few weeks and of course to the hosts who have made room for their guests to stay, even when the family is descending on them in droves.
It’s having all those options that makes a difference to the team and our guests.
If we haven’t got back to you by now, we think we don’t have a suitable guest for you this Xmas but may well ask during 2019 and hope that’s OK.
We celebrated with a social for our core team of volunteers…and on the day one of the team appeared on Victoria Derbyshire and another on Newsnight (so everyone had to watch!)
breakfast time
We’ve had loads of seasonal coverage too from the Guardian to the Guilty Feminist podcast. But this, from the Huffington Post is undoubtedly our favourite, as it gets what we are all about.

UPDATE ON APPEALS

Remember Mr Kim – from North Korea and with terminal liver cancer? We found him lovely, existing, hosts who came forward after a Facebook appeal. They hosted for several weeks but Mr Kim wanted to die near home. And at the end of last month, the Home Office flew him to South Korea so he could be surrounded by people with whom he shared a language and heritage. It’s what he wanted. It’s a sad story, but our hosts’ humanity made his last months safe and happy ones.
Recently we found hosts in Harrow for a family of three who needed to be near a specific hospital for chemo-therapy.
And another family will be moving in with hosts in Nottingham at New Year – one of those ace placements which took literally ONE CALL to sort out. We do like those particularly.
Plus we acquired another guest recently when a couple had a baby while hosted. All are still there and doing well.

OUR NEW MANAGER HAS ARRIVED

Lauren Scott, our new senior manager arrived just over a week ago. Lauren was manager of the Robes Project in south London – one of our 90-odd referrers. We are really grateful to the Tudor Trust and the Fore who have enabled us to find someone so qualified to take over the day-to-day running of Refugees At Home, so the trustees can draw breath and think about what we do next.
office manager
In January the weekly face-to-face day moves from Birkbeck College – to whom we are hugely grateful for the last three months – to Travers Smith, our lovely, pro-bono lawyers. Some of the team are worried that they blend in more with students than city lawyers. But Travers Smith are always so nice to us, it can’t matter.

NEW TRUSTEES

We have a new company secretary: Rebecca de Tufo who took up her duties with our strategy day earlier this month.
One of our very first guests, Ahmad Al-Rashid, has joined the board, to enable us to reflect on how we can best serve those we are trying to help.
And we are interviewing for a treasurer any day now and hope to have an announcement in the next newsletter.

FORTHCOMING EVENTS

FEBRUARY 6th 2019 7.30pm

Concert in Wimbledon by Margaret Fingerhut
Margaret is performing around the country – mostly for City of Sanctuary – and we are lucky enough to be at the beginning of her schedule. Her concert “Far from the home I love” will feature a newly commissioned a piece by a Kurdish Syrian refugee and other music on a theme of exile and homesickness.
Tickets available through www.ticketsource.co.uk/fingerhutconcert

FEBRUARY 18th 2019 at 1830 – OUR AGM & BIRTHDAY PARTY

We will be celebrating our 3rd birthday – and the need for a very brief AGM – in the company of our ace lawyers, Travers Smith, at their offices in Snow Hill EC4.
We don’t have room for everyone we love and who hosts and home visits for Refugees At Home and but, as last year, will have at least 30 tickets for people who want to come.
And this year it’s really easy. You apply online for a free ticket and one of our volunteers sorts it out:www.ticketsource.co.uk/refugees-at-home
More details in the New Year.
And early warning that we will be having a comedy night in the spring – details for that to follow too.
For now, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and see you on the other side of the holidays.
Sara and the team